Commentary: EPA director should heed Everglades summons

EPA director Lisa Jackson has won a reprieve on an order to appear in Miami federal court last week to explain her agency's "glacial slowness" in meeting water pollution standards vital to Everglades restoration. A reprieve is not a pass, however.

Ms. Jackson, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a defendant in a clean-up lawsuit filed years ago. Federal Judge Alan S. Gold wants to find out how the EPA and other agencies intend -- at long last -- to start enforcing Everglades water quality requirements. Back in April, he called Ms. Jackson to appear in court in October, but at the last minute she said other priorities would keep her away and appealed the order. The appellate court sided with her -- for now.

Judge Gold has sensibly reset the hearing for next month, and this time we expect Ms. Jackson won't find other priorities or try to send an underling to represent her.

Judge Gold's earlier rulings have made a strong case that the EPA and other agencies have deliberately ignored or refused to enforce laws limiting toxic discharges into the Everglades. EPA action is long overdue, and there is no substitute for having the EPA director come into court to answer questions about ending these delays.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com.