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Sen. Bill Nelson, South Florida leaders question Florida changing water pollution rules

With water pollution already fueling toxic algae blooms in Florida, the state shouldn't allow more toxic chemicals to flow into waterways, South Florida officials warned Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson met with local leaders in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday to discuss concerns about the state's plan to ease some limits on potentially cancer-causing chemicals that drain into waterways.

In July, the state's Environmental Regulation Commission endorsed a proposal to adjust the allowable limits on 43 chemicals the state already regulates, while adding new standards for 39 chemicals the state hasn't been regulating.

The pollution rules are meant to protect drinking water as well as keep waterways safe for swimming and seafood safe to eat.

Supporters have called the proposed regulatory changes a safe, science-based update, but opponents argue it is an industry-friendly plan that risks public health.

The changes involve chemicals that can end up in drinking water and come from pulp and paper mills, wastewater treatment and electricity plants, dry cleaners and oil and gas companies, Nelson said.