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Lake Okeechobee discharges challenged in federal lawsuit

Posted at 3:04 PM, Jun 11, 2019

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FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Discharges from Florida's Lake Okeechobee that send nutrients down two rivers triggering algae blooms are being challenged in a new federal lawsuit.

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The lawsuit filed Tuesday contends the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has refused to address harm to human health and wildlife from the discharges along the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers. Those waterways and their estuaries last summer experienced damaging blooms of blue-green algae due to the lake water.

A Corps spokesman declined comment. The lawsuit was filed in Fort Pierce federal court by the Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance.

Among other things, the lawsuit asks a judge to halt further releases of Lake Okeechobee water until the Corps is in compliance with the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws.