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Florida AG Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Against EPA's ‘Clean Water Rule’


Florida has joined a multi-state lawsuit against a new federal water-pollution rule.

Industry groups support the suit — which refers to the rule as a “significant overreach” by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi joined the suit this week. In a news release, Bondi calls the rule burdensome and said it would negatively affect business, governments and households across Florida. Her statements echo what Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam warned last year before the rule went into effect.

“Folks, your front yard is mushy in North Florida right now,” Putnam said. “Should that be subject to Corps of Engineers regulation?”

But Florida environmentalists say the backlash is unwarranted. And the EPA’s Ken Kopocis reacted last month.  

“Rather than creating any new permitting requirements, especially for farmers, the Clean Water Rule will provide greater clarity and certainty and does not add any economic burdens,” Kopocis said.

Federal regulators say the rule was necessary to clear up competing Supreme Court rulings about what qualify as protected headwaters. Those are areas where water starts before flowing into streams that become lakes or rivers. The lawsuit says the rule violates states’ rights to govern their own waters.

Photo credit: “Shingle Creek, Florida” by thalling55 is used under CC BY 2.0.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP