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Bondi adds Florida to lawsuit against federal wetland protections

BRADENTON – This week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined Florida with seven other states in a suit challenging new federal rules designed to better protect the wetlands.

The suit claims that the new federal rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are "an attempt by two agencies of the federal government to usurp the states' primary responsibility for the management, protection, and care of intrastate waters and lands."

The lawsuit was filed by Georgia, who has been joined by Florida, West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wisconsin. The suit cites two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the EPA and USACOE were protecting wetlands that did not meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act because they were only wet seasonally.

Florida is second to only Alaska in total square miles of wetlands. Bondi says that Florida is better suited to establish the regulatory rules necessary to protect the state's waterways than the federal government.

The new rules are opposed by both the development and agriculture industries. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has praised Bondi for joining the suit.

"The unconstitutional expansion of the EPA's jurisdiction over the waters of the United States not only infringes on states' authority, but also it threatens the sound environmental protection programs we have in place today," said Putnam in a statement.