Efforts to restore Florida’s Everglades hit a snag yesterday, when the state’s top environmental regulator suggested delaying by 20 years the cleanup of phosphorus from South Florida waters. David Struhs, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, had previously backed a plan to reduce the presence of phosphorus from a whopping 300 parts per billion to just 10 ppb by 2006, as mandated by the 1994 Everglades Forever Act. Yesterday, though, he encouraged lawmakers to revise that act to extend the deadline to 2026, a move he said simply acknowledged the “political reality.” Translation: The sugar industry, which is largely responsible for the pollutant, says meeting the earlier deadline would be all but impossible. Environmentalists and the Miccosukkee Tribe, which lives in the Everglades, expressed outrage at the proposed change.
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