Florida is once again suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over water policy. The latest fight comes after the EPA announced new rules expanding its authority to govern water bodies.
State Attorney General Pam Bondi says Florida is joining a bipartisan lawsuit against the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” Regulations. The rules broaden the list of water bodies that fall under EPA authority. In February, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam testified against the rules before a Congressional panel.
“Florida’s flat topography and system of flood plains, wetlands and sloughs, could subject nearly all of Florida’s water to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act," Putnam said. "Under this rule, isolated wetlands located miles from the nearest navigable waterways… would now be defined as 'Waters of the U.S.' just because they’re in the same watershed.”
The advocacy group Environment Florida estimates the new EPA rules could impact a third of the state’s streams, which connect to major water systems like Lake Okeechobee.