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Everglades claims true, state says

The state has agreed that 157 claims made in a federal lawsuit over pollution of the Everglades are true, but continues to insist that Florida, not a federal court, should control cleanup efforts. The admissions made in papers filed in Miami federal court Monday should reduce the burden of questioning scores of potential witnesses and amassing millions of documents in preparation for a trial, said Environmental Regulation Secretary Carol Browner.

"Our stipulation should substantially simplify resolution of remaining legal issues," she said. "However, the real challenge for everyone concerned is to stop pointing fingers to prove who is at fault, and get on with the cleanup."

The federal government had filed with the court a list of 188 allegations that it called "undisputed facts." The state's response admitted 157, rejected 12 and said more scientific information is needed to prove the remaining 19.

The state documents admitted that water going into the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge violates state clean-water laws.