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Judge says state is polluting Everglades with its runoff

U.S. District Judge Frederico Moreno dealt a blow today to the state's efforts to allow discharge flow into the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park and ruled that the practice exceeds pollution limits. Download 1010-Order-Affirming-SM-2011-01-04-Report

Here's the press release from Earth Justice, which filed the suit:

A federal judge has ruled that water running south into the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge has been exceeding pollution limits designed to protect one of America’s most significant environmental treasures. Specifically, water coming off the state-operated Stormwater Treatment Areas exceeded the official limits that the state of Florida set for phosphorus between 2005 and 2009, ruled U.S. District Judge Frederico Moreno.

 “We know that too much phosphorus, which comes from agricultural pollution, upsets the delicate balance in the Everglades,” said Earthjustice attorney Alisa Coe. “Judge Moreno affirmed what we’ve been saying – that the state limits must be met and pollution must be reduced.” The ruling is part of a long-running legal case that stretches back to an historic 1992 consent decree between Florida and the federal government.

The federal government sued Florida for allowing too much pollution in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park. In the 1992 consent decree, the state agreed to build Stormwater Treatment Areas to clean and filter pollution before it reaches the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park. 

Judge Moreno’s ruling says the state must set more protective limits on the amount of phosphorus entering Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.