We get it – wetlands aren't a sexy topic. They're full of mud and snakes and sometimes gators, and the average person doesn't really seem to know what they're good for. And Florida has lots of wetlands. More than any other state. Which is probably why Attorney General Pam Bondi just joined a lawsuit
against the Environmental Protection Agency to keep it from enforcing new rules designed to protect wetlands.
Bondi joined the attorneys general of Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wisconsin in accusing the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of trying to "usurp the states' primary responsibility for the management, protection, and care of intrastate waters and lands."
The EPA's new rules expand the definition of waterways that the federal government regulates, and lots of people (particularly Republicans and business interests) objected when they were introduced. They say that the new rules, which can be read in their entirety here (TL;DR warning)
, give the federal government the ability to monitor and regulate "tributaries" and "adjacent waters" that are next to more significant navigable bodies of water. Proponents say the new language makes it possible to regulate wetlands, floodplains and streams that feed into larger bodies of water. Opponents say it's overreach, and will give the feds the right to regulate puddles in ditches and other insignificant bodies of water, thus making it nearly impossible to do such things as farm (even though the new rules do include exemptions for some agricultural practices).
Bondi says this would have a "unique and tremendous impact on Floridan specifically, given our state’s vast amount of wet lands and agriculture" and that the state is fully capable of managing its own wetlands, thank you very much. Therefore, the EPA should not interfere. We are clearly the experts at protecting the precious waterways that make Florida so unique.
Look, here's what a good job we're doing: