A Florida administrative law judge ruled June 7 in favor of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL DEP) in a rulemaking to establish numeric nutrient standards for the state's inland and estuarine waters. Judge Bram D.E. Canter of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings found that a coalition of environmental and conservation groups failed to prove the proposed rules (Nos. 62-302, 62-303) constituted an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority. Canter's ruling came in response to a December 2011 petition filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John's Riverkeeper, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
The ruling allows the state to move forward in submitting its water quality standards to the Environmental Protection Agency for review, EPA said in a June 8 statement. The potential impact of the ruling may result in the US EPA withdrawing its own controversial final rule and replace it with Florida standards. EPA officials indicated that they will review state rules, review comments, and determine whether rules meet Clean Water Act criteria. The final order is available here
. Information on the standards is available here