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Two environmental groups and a Florida resident on March 18 announced they are planning to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to ensure enforcement of federal water quality regulations in Florida.
The Sierra Club (San Francisco) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (New York) will be joined in the suit by Linda Young, a Florida resident and director of the Southeast chapter of the Clean Water Network (Washington, D.C.), another environmental advocacy organization, according to a Sierra Club press statement. The groups allege that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's administration is allowing runoff from large dairy operations to pollute Florida waterbodies, allowing various industrial mining operations to discharge pollution to local waterways without permits, and ignoring unpermitted discharges of dioxins and other toxic pollutants by paper mills, a statement said.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection responded to the announcement with a statement asserting that the department "is committed to protecting and restoring Florida's water and is fully implementing its delegated responsibilities under the federal Clean Water Act."
Gov. Bush's administration during the last five years has spent more than $1.8 billion on cleaning up stormwater pollution and improving water and wastewater treatment facilities statewide, the statement said. The department is regulating pollution from dairy farms effectively, is cleaning up polluted waterways, and has committed to spending more than $650 million during the next 10 years to ensure that Everglades water quality meets stringent standards for phosphorus and other pollutants, the statement says.