A U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, Fla., has ruled that Environmental Protection Agency-imposed numeric nutrient criteria for Florida streams and unimpaired lakes are unlawful because they are arbitrary and have no scientific basis.

The ruling resolves several challenges to federal numeric nutrient criteria imposed by EPA on Florida waterways. The court upheld EPA’s ability to issue federal standards under the particular facts at issue in Florida and upheld some of the particular EPA standards. However, the court agreed with arguments raised by the American Farm Bureau Federation and its co-plaintiffs that two key types of restrictions were unlawful. This aspect of the ruling underscores that sound science must support such costly, federally imposed actions.