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Florida, Alabama, Georgia Chambers unite against EPA

Business leaders in Florida, Alabama and Georgia announced Tuesday their support of a lawsuit filed by eight state attorneys general against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The lawsuit, filed June 30 in federal court, alleges that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers overstepped when they instituted pollution protections from the Clean Water Act on a number of new streams and smaller bodies of water last month.

Among the attorneys general who signed onto the lawsuit are Florida AG Pam Bondi, Georgia AG Samuel Olens and Albama AG Luther Strange.

In a statement of support, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Chamber and Business Council of Alabama wrote that the EPA's new rule must be stopped before it "becomes entrenched policy," or states could risk economic harm.

“Florida, Georgia and Alabama have not always seen eye to eye on inter-state water issues, but when a tsunami of federal regulations threatens the economic security of our region, we join forces and fight for free-enterprise,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce in the statement. “The economic impact of the Federal EPA’s recent Waters of the US rule will harm Florida’s economy, Florida families and our state’s small businesses- the EPA’s attempts to regulate have gone too far.”

Under the new rule, clean water and pollution regulations are given to the federal government for some waterways previously controlled by states.

The EPA says that many of these streams and rivers should be held to the same standards as larger bodies of water that have long been subject to federal regulation. That's because many of the streams feed into bigger bodies of water.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement June 30. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

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