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HB 7043 — State Assumption of Federal Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting Authority

by Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee; and Rep. Raschein and others (SB 1402 by Senators Simmons, Galvano, and Grimsley)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (EP)

HB 7043 provides the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the power and authority to assume the dredge and fill permitting program established in section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act with the intent that the DEP assume and implement the program in conjunction with the state’s environmental resource permitting program established in ch. 373, F.S. Specifically, the bill:

  • Authorizes the DEP to adopt by rule any federal requirements, criteria, or regulations necessary to obtain assumption of the program and provides that any such rules adopted may not become effective or otherwise enforceable until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the state’s assumption application;
  • Provides that state laws which conflict with the federal requirements necessary to obtain assumption of the section 404 permitting program do not apply to state-administered section 404 permits;
  • Provides that a state-administered section 404 permit is not required for activities exempted from regulation in certain federal law and rule provisions and that certain state statutory exemptions from permitting requirements do not apply to state-administered section 404 permits;
  • Provides that the DEP must grant or deny an application for a state-administered section 404 permit within the time allowed for permit review under federal rules and that the DEP is specifically exempted from the time limitations provided in state statute for its decisions on applications for state-administered section 404 permits;
  • Requires that all state-administered section 404 permits be issued for a period of no more than five years and makes other provisions for the reissuance of permits, including the adoption by rule of an expedited permitting process, and the timeframes within which the DEP must make permitting decisions; and
  • Authorizes the DEP to delegate administration of the section 404 permitting program if such delegation is in accordance with federal law.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect upon becoming law.

Vote: Senate 35-1; House 112-2