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2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
376.78 Legislative intent.—The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) The reduction of public health and environmental hazards on existing commercial and industrial sites is vital to their use and reuse as sources of employment, housing, recreation, and open space areas. The reuse of industrial land is an important component of sound land use policy for productive urban purposes which will help prevent the premature development of farmland, open space areas, and natural areas, and reduce public costs for installing new water, sewer, and highway infrastructure.
(2) The abandonment or underuse of brownfield sites also results in the inefficient use of public facilities and services, as well as land and other natural resources, extends conditions of blight in local communities, and contributes to concerns about environmental equity and the distribution of environmental risks across population groups.
(3) Incentives should be put in place to encourage responsible persons to voluntarily develop and implement cleanup plans without the use of taxpayer funds or the need for enforcement actions by state and local governments.
(4) Environmental and public health hazards cannot be eliminated without clear, predictable remediation standards that provide for the protection of the environment and public health.
(5) Site rehabilitation should be based on the actual risk that contamination may pose to the environment and public health, taking into account current and future land and water use and the degree to which contamination may spread and place the public or the environment at risk.
(6) According to the statistical proximity study contained in the final report of the Environmental Equity and Justice Commission, minority and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by targeted environmentally hazardous sites. The results indicate the need for the health and risk exposure assessments of minority and poverty populations around environmentally hazardous sites in this state. Redevelopment of hazardous sites should address questions relating to environmental and health consequences.
(7) Environmental justice considerations should be inherent in meaningful public participation elements of a brownfields redevelopment program.
(8) The existence of brownfields within a community may contribute to, or may be a symptom of, overall community decline, including issues of human disease and illness, crime, educational and employment opportunities, and infrastructure decay. The environment is an important element of quality of life in any community, along with economic opportunity, educational achievement, access to health care, housing quality and availability, provision of governmental services, and other socioeconomic factors. Brownfields redevelopment, properly done, can be a significant element in community revitalization, especially within community redevelopment areas, enterprise zones, empowerment zones, closed military bases, or designated brownfield pilot project areas.
(9) Cooperation among federal, state, and local agencies, local community development organizations, and current owners and prospective purchasers of brownfield sites is required to accomplish timely cleanup activities and the redevelopment or reuse of brownfield sites.
History.—s. 2, ch. 97-277; s. 1, ch. 2014-114.