Federal judge puts environmentalists’ lawsuit against Piney Point on hold
He said the state court system “already has a running start on the closure of Piney Point” and pointed to $100 million that the Legislature approved last year to help clean up the site.
A federal judge has put on hold a lawsuit that environmental groups filed last year after massive amounts of wastewater were discharged from a former phosphate plant site to avert a potential catastrophe.
U.S. District Judge William Jung put a six-month stay on the lawsuit, as a court-ordered receiver in a separate state case works to close the Piney Point site in Manatee County.
Jung, in an order dated Friday and posted online Monday, wrote that the state court system “already has a running start on the closure of Piney Point” and pointed to $100 million that the Legislature approved last year to help clean up the site.
“As plaintiffs (the environmental groups) admitted at oral argument, there is no evidence the receiver is operating in bad faith,” Jung wrote in the 18-page order. “So long as it appears the state actors continue to operate in good faith, this federal court is reluctant to interfere with these ongoing state endeavors. Finally, a stay may simplify the issues of this case. The state-court receiver has already taken over daily operations of the site and is working to assemble a team of experts. His reports will shed light on the scope of the alleged environmental damage, as well as the best ways to remediate it.”