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Abstract

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians is a federally recognized tribe that works and resides in the Everglades region of the State of Florida. The Miccosukee have been battling lax water quality standards through lawsuits since the 1990’s. Recent rulings in federal court held that the State of Florida has failed to comply with the Clean Water Act and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to set nutrient criteria for the water bodies in the state of Florida until the Florida Department of Environmental Protection complies with the Clean Water Act.

This article uses the principles of environmental justice to analyze ways in which the Environmental Protection Agency can lift the undue burden that the Miccosukee Indian Tribe is bearing due to the nutrient pollution occurring in the Everglades. Environmental Justice is a jurisprudence that is used when low-income or minority populations bear a disproportionately high burden of adverse human health or environmental effects. The Environmental Protection Agency has created a new, comprehensive environmental justice plan called Plan EJ 2014. This plan acts as a roadmap to better integrate environmental justice into the program’s activities and policies. The author addresses the environmental justice that is burdening the Miccosukee Indian Tribe, and suggests using environmental justice principles to set nutrient criteria in Florida, particularly the water bodies found within the land of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians.