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Florida Wildlife Federation v. McCarthy

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20006
Nos. 4:08cv324, (N.D. Fla., 01/07/2014) (Hinkle, J.)

A district court granted EPA's motion to amend a consent decree requiring it to adopt numeric criteria for Florida's waters unless the state does so first. Florida adopted new nutrient criteria, but for some waters, the criteria are not numeric. EPA then sought to modify the consent decree so that the state criteria can control across the board. Environmental groups opposed the modification, saying that the requirement for numeric criteria should be retained. But the state's adoption of comprehensive new nutrient criteria is a significant change in the factual conditions and law, and the state and EPA agree that Florida's new approach meets the requirements of the CWA. In addition, EPA's proposed modification of the consent decree is suitably tailored to the changed circumstances. The court, therefore, granted EPA's motion to amend the decree to exclude any requirement to adopt numeric downstream-protection criteria or numeric nutrient criteria for South Florida streams or for marine lakes, tidally influenced streams, or conveyances primarily used for water-management purposes with marginal or poor stream habitat components.