(1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Regulation Act.”
(2) FINDINGS; INTENT.— (a) The Legislature finds that implementation of the comprehensive plan, as defined in s. 373.470(2)(b), is in the public interest and is necessary for restoring, preserving, and protecting the South Florida ecosystem, providing for the protection of water quality in and the reduction of the loss of fresh water from the Everglades, and providing such features as are necessary to meet the other water-related needs of the region, including flood control, the enhancement of water supplies, and other objectives served by the project.
(b) The Legislature intends to provide efficient and effective permitting of project components, taking into account all other statutory responsibilities the department and the South Florida Water Management District are required to consider.
(3) REGULATION OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN STRUCTURES AND FACILITIES.— (a) This subsection applies to all project components, as defined in s. 373.1501, identified in the comprehensive plan unless the project component is otherwise subject to s. 373.4592, s. 373.4595, or the department’s rules on reuse of reclaimed water. Permits issued under this subsection are in lieu of all other permits required under this chapter or chapter 403, except for permits issued under any delegated or approved federal program. (b) The department shall issue a permit for a term of 5 years for the construction, operation, modification, or maintenance of a project component based on the criteria set forth in this section. If the department is the entity responsible for the construction, operation, modification, or maintenance of any individual project component, the district shall issue a permit for a term of 5 years based on the criteria set forth in this section. The permit application must provide reasonable assurances that:
1. The project component will achieve the design objectives set forth in the detailed design documents submitted as part of the application.
2. State water quality standards, including water quality criteria and moderating provisions, will be met. Under no circumstances shall the project component cause or contribute to violation of state water quality standards.
3. Discharges from the project component will not pose a serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare.
4. Any impacts to wetlands or threatened or endangered species resulting from implementation of the project component will be avoided, minimized, and mitigated, as appropriate.
(c) Construction activities for comprehensive plan project components may be initiated upon submission of a permit application and completion of the department’s approval under s. 373.1501, but before final agency action or notice of intended agency action. However, a permit must be obtained before the commencement or modification of operation.
(d) Permits issued under this subsection must contain reasonable conditions to ensure that water quality resulting from construction and operation of project components is adequately and accurately monitored.
(e) Permits issued under this subsection may:
1. Authorize construction, operation, modification, and maintenance of individual or multiple project components under a single permit;
2. Include any standard conditions provided by department rule which are appropriate and consistent with this subsection; or
3. Establish reporting requirements that are consolidated with other reports if all reporting requirements are met.
(f) The permitting entity shall require a processing fee in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for a permit under this section and to cover the costs of surveillance associated with any permit issued under this section.
(g) At least 60 days before the expiration of any permit issued under this subsection, the permittee may apply for a renewal for a term of 5 years. Such submittals are considered timely and sufficient under s. 120.60(4). Permits issued under this subsection may be modified upon review and approval by the department or district, as appropriate. (h) Project components that would otherwise qualify as exempt pursuant to s. 373.406 shall not need permits under this section.