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Water-Related News

Miami can now challenge a state rule that allows more toxins in the water

After a year of legal hurdles, the city of Miami and Seminole Tribe of Florida can now move forward with a lawsuit challenging a state rule that would allow higher concentrations of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, to be discharged into Florida’s rivers and streams.

The Third District Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and Miami and the Tribe said Thursday it will now continue to pursue its lawsuit against the Department of Environmental Protection's Human Health Toxics Criteria Rule.

The rule increases the acceptable levels of more than two dozen known carcinogens and decreases levels for 13 currently regulated chemicals. It was approved on a 3-2 vote by the Environmental Regulation Commission in July 2016, when the commission had only five of its seven members.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Martin County and the city of Miami challenged the rule in August 2016, arguing it posed a health hazard to the public. The Florida Pulp and Paper Association, whose members rely on discharging chemical-laden water into Florida rivers, also challenged the rule but argued it was too strict.