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Only a selection of recently discussed environmentally related laws is presented
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  After the last elections (Gov. Scott's Republican majority) :
The leadership is rolling through a large number of things without full consideration of the implications", said Rep.(D) D. Taylor.
"I don't think there was a whole lot of thought placed on the changes they're trying to make. Unfortunately, they have the numbers to do whatever they want and nobody can stop them, nobody," Taylor said
  SOME LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES   -  environment related
Legislative Session 2015    
dot HB 7003 and SB 918 House and Senate Water Bills
The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee amended SB 918 to include the offensive Lake Okeechobee water quality program changes from HB 7003. It is likely that a final bill will include repeal of the requirement that discharges into Lake Okeechobee meet water quality standards.

dot HB 5001 and HB 5003 - House Appropriations and Appropriations Implementing Bills

dot SB 2100 and 2102 - Senate Appropriations and
Appropriations Implementing Bills

Committee members seemed shocked to hear that along with the 1/3 phosphorus reduction that little of the 600,000 tons of nitrogen coming into the lake and being released to coastal estuaries is going to be reduced under the state's plan. It is now being proposed that the Senate bill be amended to include deadlines for meeting the nutrient reduction targets.

The House uses Florida Forever bonding authority to generate $200 million for water resource development projects, easements on agricultural lands, springs land acquisition and restoration projects, water quality projects of Kissimmee River restoration.

The Senate does not use bonding and only provides $2 million for Florida Forever.

Agency leaders are united with sugar growers and Lake Okeechobee watershed agricultural landowners in concern that the requirement to meet water quality standards leaves the South Florida Water Management District vulnerable to litigation.
They believe that the recently adopted Basin Management Action Plan's (BMAP) projection of reducing 1/3 of the phosphorous entering Lake Okeechobee is enough. 

Of the funds the House budget announcement suggested that $10 million could be used for projects on the Florida Forever list. All $200 million is conditioned on the HB 7003 - the water bill - becoming law.

The bill does match the $20 million for Kissimmee River restoration in the House Bill and funds Everglades related water quality along with projects to support the C-44 and C-43 reservoirs to help coastal estuaries.

Legislative Session 2013


Environmentalists demand the state stop 'slime crime'
(Florida Times-Union - 2013/04/15)
Environmental 'cluster bombs'
(Herald-Tribune - 2013/04/15)
Cluster bombs
(Gainesville.com - 2013/04/12)
Florida legislative update: Environmental contamination
(Examiner.com - 2013/04/10)
Springs bills appear dead but bills ratifying DEP approach on water quality are moving fast ( Florida Current - 2013/04/08) Permitting bills moving despite environmental opposition (2013/04/08)
Summarized by FL Conservation Coalition   
as of April 26, 2013 :

FCC Founder and Chairman is Bob Graham
Vice-Chairmen are Nathaniel Pryor Reed & Lee Constantine
The FCC Recommends:
"Contact your legislators and ask them to vote NO on HB 999 / SB 1684 !"
HB 7065 - ( Rep. Caldwell) / SB 768 (Sen. Simpson)
The amended HB 7065 passed the House 114-0.
The Senate has taken up the House version of the bill, which is awaiting a third reading.

(Rep. Caldwell) / SB 768 (Sen. Simpson) - Finds that the implementation of BMPs effectively reduces nutrients from entering the Everglades Protection Area. It extends the $25 per acre agriculture privilege tax until 2026 and then implements a phased draw down to $10 per acre from 2036 and thereafter. Instructs that tax proceeds will be usedfor design, construction, and implementation of the Long Term plan. States that payment of the agricultural privilege tax and implementation of BMPs fulfills the obligation of land owners and users under the Florida "polluter pays" constitutional amendment. Authorizes appropriations of $20 million from the Water Management Land Trust Fund and $12 million in general revenue for the Restoration Strategies Regional Water Quality plan through 2023-2024..
HB 7113 (Rep. Caldwell) / SB 1806 (Committee Bill)
Allows for phased total maximum daily loads (TMDL) if additional data is necessary to increase precision and accuracy

Allows for phased total maximum daily loads (TMDL) if additional data is necessary to increase precision and accuracy. Exempts TMDL rules from legislative ratification. Would aid in the adoption and implementation of TMDL water quality standards. SB 1806 passed in the Senate unanimously. HB 7113 is one the second reading calendar in the House.

HB 7115 (Rep. Raburn) / SB 1808 (Committee Bill) - Provides for legislative ratification of agreement between DEP and EPA for nutrient standards. Provides for legislative ratification of agreement between DEP and EPA for nutrient standards.
SB1808 passed the Senate 33-5 with Senators Clemens, Abruzzo, Negron, and Soto objecting.
HB 7115 is on the second reading calendar in the House.
HB 7 - (Rep. Porter) / SB 244 (Sen. Dean) - Requires Water Management Districts (WMD) to include certain water bodies in priority lists and schedules, provides for adoption of certain reservations and minimum flows by DEP - and requires WMD to apply, without rule adoption, certain reservations, minimum flows and levels, and recovery and prevention strategies. Enables WMD to enter into interagency agreements to promote interagency coordination where boundaries overlap.
SB 244 passed unanimously in the Senate. HB 7 has been added to the Calendar in the House
HB 33(Rep. Smith) / SB 466 (Sen. Altman) – Allows individuals and corporations to receive state owned land in exchange for placing permanent conservation easements over their private land holdings. This bill removes the state lands from public management, placing them back into the hands of private land owners for farming, grazing, timber and other private uses. Since the alteration of the original state lands for these new agricultural uses would be relatively irreversible, and since there is no requirement in the bills for the conservation easements to be permanent, this does not seem fair to Florida's taxpayers. This bill is opposed by the environmentalists (Audubon FL).
*Both bills have been temporarily postponed in their committees, and are hopefully dead for this session.*
HB 109 - Extends the duration of Consumptive Use Permits for Development of Alternative Water Supplies from 20 to 30 years and prevents the quantity of alternative water allocated to be reduced, unless the reduction is needed to address harm to water resources or existing legal users. The FCC opposed similar language during recent Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Rulemaking, but with the recent change by Representative Young addressing environmental harm, the FCC is no longer opposing this bill.
SB 364 passed unanimously. The House has taken up SB 364 in messages.
HB 183 (Rep. Raulerson) / SB 934 (Sen. Lee)
Grants 20 year general permits for stormwater discharge in redevelopment and infill areas.
A new committee substitute to HB 183 removes language that would have restricted stormwater regulations and presumed stormwater discharges did not affect water quality. New version requires stormwater discharges show a net improvement of the quality of discharged water from pre-existing conditions and requires best management practices.
SB 934 passed in the full Senate unanimously.
HB 183 has been on the House second reading calendar for more than three weeks.
HB 319 - This problematic growth management bill restricts mobility plans and fees, which many local governments have adopted instead of transportation concurrency. Developers want to place the same restrictions on those plans regarding credits, proportionate share and prohibiting operating and maintenance costs. 1000 Friends of Florida met with stakeholders to voice concerns about the bill. After reviewing the amendments made, serious concerns remain. It did pass the first committee this week, and could be at the second committee stop next week. We believe the bill unnecessarily restricts local government flexibility regarding mobility plans and mobility fees even though it appears to protect existing programs. The Florida Association of Counties has expressed concerns about the bill. Currently, there is no Senate companion.
HB 321 - Prohibits any local government from applying school and transportation concurrency - - - including proportionate share contributions, through July 1, 2017, unless 2/3 of elected officials vote to do so. This bill would over-ride existing local government authority which already exists to suspend concurrency and/or impact fees, and interfere with local home rule authority.
HB 789 - Requires each Water Management District to identify first and second magnitude springs with declining flow levels and create a 5 year plan to restore these impaired water bodies. The FCC supports the efforts of Rep. Stewart and Sen. Soto to restore Florida's springs.
The House version has been referred to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, Rulemaking Oversight and Repeal Subcommittee, and State Affairs Committee.
The Senate version has been referred to the Environmental Preservation and Conservation, Community Affairs, and Rules Committees. The FCC will keep you updated on these bills as they are heard by the Committees.
HB 901 - (Rep. Stone) / SB 584 (Sen. Hays)
Prohibits the purchase of public conservation lands by any governmental entity unless an equal amount of public property is returned to private ownership, effectively killing the acquisition of conservation land in Florida. .

This bill is opposed by the FCC. See the previous FCC ACTION ALERT. *The Florida Current reported Sen. Hays temporarily postponed SB 584, admitting that it "isn't going to go anywhere" and is likely dead for the 2013 legislative session.
*The Florida Current reported Sen. Hays temporarily postponed SB 584, admitting that it “isn’t going to go anywhere” and is likely dead for the 2013 legislative session. (The public opposition to SB 584 was effective).

SB 948 (Sen. Grimsley) / HB 1063 (Rep. Hutson)
Places the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services in a more prominent position in the water management district Regional Water Supply planning process. A new group within DACS would be established just for the purpose of providing estimates to the water management districts, which they must consider.

Several productive stakeholder meetings over the past month have changed the outlook on this bill. Senator Grimsley worked with all stakeholders to craft a fair compromise. The amended bill includes conservation measures in water supply projections, maintains a focus on alternative water supply, and recognizes the unique nature of different regions of our state.
SB 948 passed unanimously on April 26th. It appears the House will consider SB 948 when received in messages.

HB 999 - (Rep. Patronis) / SB 1684 (Sen. Altman)
This bill creates, amendments and revises provisions relating to: development permit applications - marinas, boatyards, & marine retailers; general permits for special events; well permits; exemptions from permits, fees & related environmental requirements & regulation; regional water supply planning; agricultural water supply demand projections; major sources of air pollution; water quality testing, sampling, collection, & analysis; & restoration of seawalls.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, House Bill 999 by Rep. Jimmy Patronis "not only strips local government protection from thousands of acres of wetlands, it also: prevents local governments from banning fertilizer sales until 2016; blocks environmental groups from suing to overturn controversial Everglades leases that Florida Gov. Scott and the Cabinet approved with sugar companies; accelerates the permitting for natural gas pipelines that originate in other states; and forbids water management districts from cutting back groundwater pumping by any entity that builds a desalination plant to increase its potential water supply, among about 20 other topics."
The public is urged to stand against it.
HB 1063 - Places the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services in a powerful role in advocating for agriculture in the water management Regional Water Supply planning process. A new group within DACS would be established just for the purpose of providing estimates to the Water Management Districts, which they must consider. Certain provisions conflict with needs for protection from drought or recognition of environmental restoration priorities. The bill increases the power of other "self-suppliers" in the water supply planning process; and does nothing to advance the cause of conservation and efficient water use or help our springs.
On March 7th this bill received a favorable vote by the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.
The bill has yet to be heard by any House Committees. This bill, in current form, is opposed by the FCC.
The next stop will be a later meeting of the Senate Agricultural Committee. The FCC is hoping for a bill that provides DACS specific ability to participate in the water planning process under the conditions that all data is available, the local planning process is recognized, conservation is specifically part of the DACS planning, and the effects of adding the self-suppliers to the planning and contracting process is clarified and made appropriate.
HB 4007 - (Rep. Nelson) / SB 326 (Hays)
Repeals prohibition on DEP acquiring land for the cross-Florida canal - and the rest of the statute that deals with rights of refusal for counties, land owners, renters, etc., whose land had been acquired for the canal.
Repeals prohibition on DEP acquiring land for the cross-Florida canal - and the rest of the statute that deals with rights of refusal for counties, land owners, renters, etc., whose land had been acquired for the canal. Recognizes the need for a new road in Marion County that would cross greenway lands.
SB 326 pass the Senate unanimously. HB 4007 is on the House second reading calendar.
Environmental Appropriations - Friday evening, April 26th, Senate and House leaders came to a compromise on most environmental appropriations for 2013. Florida Forever will receive $70 million in funding, $50 million coming from the sale of existing state lands, $10 million from general revenue, and $10 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The two chambers also agreed to spend $70 million on Everglades clean up and restoration from the Everglades Trust Fund, $58 million on water projects, $26.7 million on beach restoration projects, and $11 million to the Rural and Family Lands Program. A new line item in the House budget, $13 million for springs restoration, received no funding in the agreement. Florida Forever appropriations have also been updated. The House Budget fulfills Governor Scott's funding request by allocating $25 million from general revenue and $50 million in proceeds from surplus land sales. The House Budget also provides $25 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The Senate Budget falls short, only allocating $10 million from the Florida Forever Trust Fund and $50 million from the proceeds of surplus land sales. It also includes $2 million for the Rural and Family Lands Trust Fund. The Senate version requires that the $10 million from the Florida Forever Trust Funds be used for military base buffer zones.
The House has proposed $48 million for water projects, compared to only $24 million in the Senate
  Top of Page  (FCC Legislative Update)
  (FCC Legislative Update)   
373.4592 Everglades improvement and management:
Amendment PCB-SAC-13-01 (2013)
Timing of the Agricultural Privilege Tax and adequacy of BMPs and STAs for the EAA - NO cost to polluters !? FL House of Representatives - State Affairs Committee
Bill HB503 - Environmental regulations: relaxing development rules "HB503 does a fruit basket turnover of Florida's environmental permitting laws" jdSupra - April 2, 2012
Florida Supreme Court Ruling - against the Governor (No. SC11-592) "Florida Justices: Scott Overstepped his Authority" Associated Press - August 16, 2011
US Congress: Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 "Proposal in U.S. Senate would weaken efforts in
  Florida, nationwide to clean up waterways
TCPalm - Editorial: August 1, 2011
A Concise Guide to What Passed in the 2011 FL Legislative Session
- - - (May 11, 2011 - by Denis Maley) - - -
The Bradenton Times
(as of February 2013 and developing - see FCC Update above)          
Some Environmental Bills (FL) Comments           (also see original news articles)
House Bill 7065 : Everglades Improvement and Management Revises provisions for use of certain ad valorem tax proceeds; provides that certain discharges do not constitute violations of water quality standards; Directs SFWMD to complete specified analysis; extends period time for collection of agricultural privilege tax; provides that payment of such tax & certain costs fulfills certain constitutional obligation
House Bill - 7051 : Rules Establishing Numeric Nutrient Criteria FL counterproposal to the US-EPA NNC rules was introduced in the House on January 24, 2012 This FL version of the NNC rules has to get accepted by the US-EPA
House Bill - 421 : Exemptions to Water Management Requirements
Senate Bill - 604 : Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial
Fertilizer Application    
Reportedly undermines local government's ability to implement ordinances, designed to curtail hazards posed from the runoff of fertilizers and agriculturally-based chemicals into FL waters. "Coalitions unite in opposition of HB-421"
(Sanibel-Captiva Islander, January 26, 2012))
House Bill - 1479 : Land Application & Septage Lifts the current ban on sewage spraying on land Audubon Florida - opposing
House Bill - 993 : Development permits and the environment Turns around the "environmental impact" proof - the responsibility of proof is NOT on developers Environmentalists oppose because the burden of harming the environment proof is now on the development opposition
House Bill - 991 : Environmental Regulation Curtails local regulation of mining, weakens wetlands protections and undermines rules designed to protect groundwater from landfill pollution Passed in 7 minutes (!) without the slightest consideration of its long-term impact
House Bill - 239 : Water Quality Water quality standards Will dramatically weaken water quality standards, including those for the Everglades
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Water Quality:
House Bill 457 revises rules implementation of a statewide model ordinance for fertilizers. Would have restricted local governments from adopting regulations limiting use of fertilizers; however, it was amended last week to allow the practice to continue. Local governments across Florida, but not in Volusia or Flagler counties, have adopted rules to try to prevent the flow of nutrients into waterways where cities have to meet federal water-quality standards. Approved unanimously in the House and awaiting Senate vote.
Another bill, ( SB-796) which has drawn protests from the South Florida diving industry, would delay deadlines for requiring wastewater utilities to stop discharging treated wastewater to the Atlantic Ocean. It's in the budget committee in the Senate.
House Bill 13, already approved in the House and referred to the Senate, repeals a bill approved last year that required regular inspection and repair of septic tanks. The bill was designed to improve the quality of water in the aquifer, to avoid polluted water flowing into wells and springs. However, the bill was expected to be costly for homeowners, requiring them to spend several hundred dollars every few years to ensure the systems were in good working order.
Growth & Planning:
In both the House and Senate, extensive bills were filed ( SB-1122 and HB-7129) to revamp the growth-management act and streamline the process. Among other things, either one or both bills limited the scope of state agencies to comment on land planning, give local governments more control, imposed a moratorium on impact fees for nonresidential development and increase the scope of projects that are required to submit to the Development of Regional Impact process. Environmental advocates say the bills would make it more difficult for citizens to challenge bad decisions. The Senate version is still in committee, but the House version is pending a second reading.
One bill ( SB-174) would eliminate the Development of Regional Impact program, administered by the regional planning councils statewide. SB-1122 would allow local governments to implement their own comprehensive planning with limited state review.
Environmental Permitting:
A pair of bills ( HB-991 and SB-1404) lists more than two dozen provisions regarding environmental permitting. Among the many provisions are exemptions to the Development of Regional Impact process for rock and phosphate mines, expedited permitting for biofuel plants and exemptions to the building code for farm fences. SB-332 revises provisions for lease of sovereign submerged land for docks. All three bills are still in committee.
Senate Bill 934 would allow certain agencies in cities and counties to reduce or waive permit-processing fees for stormwater-management systems in urban redevelopment areas and changed requirements for permitting airside activities at airports. The bill is in the Budget committee in the Senate.

The driving forces behind much of the legislation, observers say, are the economic situation and the new, more conservative leadership in the Senate, House of Representatives and governor's office.
From the beginning, Gov. Rick Scott made it clear one of his top priorities was to streamline environmental permitting and eliminate "job-killing" regulations and duplicative bureaucratic hoops.
But, environmental advocates say it's "one of the worst sessions ever," that the politicians in control are rolling back protections right and left and poised to send the state careening back to the 1960s in terms of lax growth regulations and less oversight of water quality.
"They're not only throwing the baby out with the bathwater," said Charles Lee with Audubon of Florida, "They're literally ripping the bathtub out of the floor and throwing it out the window too."

Rep. Dwayne Taylor, a Daytona Beach Democrat, said the environmentalists are "exactly right."
The leadership is "rolling through a large number of things" without full consideration of the implications, Taylor said. "I don't think there was a whole lot of thought placed on the changes they're trying to make. "Unfortunately, they have the numbers to do whatever they want and
nobody can stop them, nobody," Taylor said.
The legislators are "yielding their power to him (the governor) to do whatever he wants done."
Taylor's colleague in the local legislative delegation, Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, doesn't agree the Legislature is anti-environment.
"I'm not saying there aren't some people that feel that way," Hukill said.
"There is an overall feeling that we need to reduce layers of government and make it more efficient," she said. "I understand how that can produce angst in the environmental community."

The situation is more a function of the economy, Hukill said.
"Government doesn't have money. Our constituents don't have money, and they're facing very, very hard times," she said. "We have to take the money we have and prioritize and do the things that are important."
Cathleen Vogel, a water-resources consultant and former lobbyist who lives in Flagler Beach, said she would characterize the Legislature as "very pro-business."
"There are priorities in the state of Florida today that take precedence," she said. With unemployment so high and "people losing their homes and businesses, there are things that need immediate attention and that is what this Legislature is trying to do."
The political leadership took office stating they would streamline permitting, Vogel said, to avoid seeing "business walk away from Florida because you can't get permits."
Scott's 29-member regulatory-reform transition team recommended sweeping "cultural changes" to state regulatory agencies to reduce duplication, save money and create a more business-friendly approach.
But, several of the bills proposed to streamline permitting and reduce regulation are problematic for local governments because they take authority away, said Scott Dudley with the Florida League of Cities.
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