| House and Key Committee Approve Bills That Tackle Wastewater, Land Acquisition, Permitting|
| The House unanimously approved HB 1379, Environmental Protection, by Rep. Steele (R-Dade City) and Rep. Overdorf (R-Palm City).|
This comprehensive bill aims to improve requirements for several issues including wastewater, septic tanks, sanitary sewer services, basin management action plans, the wastewater grant program, and the Indian River Lagoon. HB 1379 also expedites the process of acquiring conservation land. The bill largely tackles wastewater as a major source of pollution and takes aim at improving wastewater infrastructure to limit nutrient pollution.
HB 1379 contains several provisions requested by DEP to implement provisions of the Governor’s Executive Order 23-06.
A similar measure, SB 1632, by Sen. Brodeur (R-Sanford) passed the Fiscal Policy Committee this week with the addition of a concerning amendment that requires DEP and the water management districts to review and report on their permitting process (by July 1, 2024) to increase efficiency and remove redundancies within each process — with a focus on permit approval times.
Permitting delays most often come from a lack of sufficient permitting staff to manage the workload. Too often, the only way regulators can process permits faster without additional staff is to reduce the rigor of their review — at the expense of the natural resources that regulations were designed to protect. At a time when Floridians are increasingly concerned about red tide and harmful algal blooms, coastal erosion and dwindling drinking water supplies, most would agree that threats to our resources require more scrutiny, not less.
This bill was placed on special order calendar scheduled for next week.