Judge wants update on Everglades pollution fixes

MIAMI — A federal judge in Miami has summoned federal and state environmental officials to a hearing on whether progress is being made to restore the Florida Everglades.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold has been harshly critical of the slow pace and particularly of state restoration efforts. Last year Gold ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could take over the permits for discharges into the Everglades unless the state takes certain steps.

The main issue is phosphorous-laden fertilizer from sugar-growing operations and other farms that flows into the vast wetlands. The goal is to reduce those discharges.

Florida officials say Gov. Rick Scott is pushing a new plan that will jump-start restoration efforts. EPA officials say they are reviewing the proposal to see if it meets necessary water quality standards.

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