Published: Sep 16, 2010 4:06 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 16, 2010 1:06 PM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - A federal appeals court has rejected an Indian tribe's challenge to a bridge project intended to restore the health of the Everglades in South Florida.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over the Miccosukee tribe's claims. The tribe said the project on Tamiami Trail west of Miami violated environmental laws and would flood the tribe's nearby lands.

The mile-long bridge is intended to improve water flow in the Everglades. The judges ruled that Congress added language to a spending bill essentially exempting the bridge project from existing environmental and other laws the tribe relied on.

Work on the project began in July and is expected to last several months.