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Water-Related News

Environmental groups to challenge federal ruling allowing state water quality rules

By Bruce Ritchie

Environmental groups on Thursday filed a notice in federal court that they are appealing a federal judge's order in January siding with Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on their agreement in 2013 allowing the state to set pollution standards in waterways.

The appeal may prevent the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from moving forward with state rules approved by the federal court and the federal EPA, DEP spokesman Patrick Gillespie said.

The Legislature in 2013 passed SB 1808 ratifying an agreement between DEP and the federal EPA calling for the state to move forward in implementing rules once federal water quality standards were withdrawn.

The appeal on Thursday was filed in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John’s Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club.