On Tuesday, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida heard oral arguments on the cross motions of EPA and Earthjustice et al. regarding the modification and, conversely, the enforcement of the Consent Decree.  The EPA and State argued that a change in circumstances, notably approval of the state rules, provide water quality protections such that federal action is no longer needed.  Earthjustice argued that the state rule does not afford the same protections in that instead of a “bright line” threshold where the water is deemed impaired and no permits issue, waters may go onto a study list rather than an impaired list, and thereby a lesser protection.  This theory was rebutted with testimony that indicated that enforcement and permit issuance would be the same under either regime.  Judge Hinkle is expected to rule in the coming weeks.