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Deadline Dispute Threatens Seminole Water Challenge

water and trees
Daniel Piriano via Flickr

The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s legal challenge to controversial new water quality standards may come down to a game of beat the clock.

The tribe filed suit August 8th, asking an administrative law judge to block the new standards. But the state says the tribe just missed a 10-day legal deadline.

But in briefs filed Monday, tribe attorneys say the clock started running August 4th, when the state changed a public notice for a hearing. Clean Water Network activist Linda Young says the state is avoiding the real issue.

“What they say is that this is the best way to protect Floridians. By increasing the amount of carcinogens that you put in the water where we get our drinking water from, where we fish and swim and harvest shellfish?”

The Seminoles argue the standards don’t contemplate health risks for people who live off the land and eat large amounts of fish. Miami-Dade objects as well and is asking to join the suit.

Judge Bram Canter has set two-days of hearings beginning September 6, but he could rule on the deadline issue any day.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.