Court blocks questioning of EPA chief on slow Everglades cleanup

In a divided decision, an appeals court in Atlanta on Thursday rejected a Miami federal judge's request to personally grill a top federal environmental chief on persistent pollution problems in the Everglades.

Two members of a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. District Court Alan Gold exceeded his authority in attempting to compel U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to answer why the agency has engaged in ``glacial delay'' in cleaning up the Everglades.

The agency's offer of a substitute, a high-ranking aide who had personally worked on Everglades and Clean Water Act issues, would have fulfilled the judge's order without ``clearly encroaching on the discretion vested in the executive branch,'' the majority found in a 33-page opinion.

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