|SB 1382, Environmental Resource Management, sponsored by Senator Albritton (R- Bartow), unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Monday.|
On Wednesday, the House companion bill HB 1363, Basin Management Action Plans, sponsored by Representative Overdorf, unanimously passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
The focus of both these bills is the implementation and improvement of Best Management Practices (BMP) in the agricultural and non-agricultural non-point source arena. Non-point source pollution is one of the largest sources of nutrients that impair our waterbodies. The development of more modern and technologically sound BMPs will improve nitrogen and phosphorus removal, allowing cleaner water to flow into our rivers and estuaries. Audubon continues to work with the sponsors to make improvements to the bill - especially to reduce the time allotted for BMP enrollment after the adoption of a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). The time for action is now: BMP implementation is simply good stewardship of our resources.
HB 1343 (House companion to SB 712 by Senator Mayfield), Water Quality Improvements, sponsored by Representative Payne (R-Palatka) and Representative Ingoglia (R- Spring Hill), had its first hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
A comprehensive water quality bill, it requires the transfer of the septic tank permitting and inspection program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). HB 1343 requires DEP to update its stormwater permitting rules, imposes new requirements on wastewater, septic tanks, and agriculture, and adds new requirements for BMAPs; the state’s water quality restoration plan. The bill requires legislative ratification if biosolids rules are adopted by DEP. There are many provisions in this bill that will improve water quality in our springs and estuaries. Audubon is working closely with the bill sponsor to address a few concerns. The bill received an unanimous vote in committee on Wednesday.
SB 1450, Environmental Enforcement, sponsored by Senator Gruters (R-Sarasota), was heard in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday. The house companion bill HB 1091 filed by Representative Fine (R-Palm Bay), hasn’t had a hearing yet. This bill increases the civil penalties for several pollutant discharge violations. Governor DeSantis, as part of his legislative initiative last September, called for a 50 percent increase in fines for environmental violations. This bill requires changes to both the amount and the duration of penalties for violating the State’s environmental laws.