HB 0759

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to environmental permitting programs;
3creating s. 373.4143, F.S.; providing legislative intent;
4creating s. 373.4144, F.S.; providing for the
5consolidation of federal and state wetland permitting
6programs; providing duties of the Department of
7Environmental Protection; requiring a report to the
8Legislature and coordination with the Florida
9Congressional Delegation; providing an effective date.
11     WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that consolidation of
12existing federal and state permitting associated with wetlands
13and navigable waters is in the public interest by eliminating
14unnecessary duplication and reducing subjective and potentially
15inconsistent permitting decisions, and
16     WHEREAS, the Legislature further recognizes that
17consolidation of federal and state wetland and navigable waters
18permitting would reduce the substantial costs to both public and
19private sectors, provide a more efficient delivery of government
20services, and avoid protracted processing delays while
21maintaining the federal and state protection afforded to
22Florida's natural resources, NOW, THEREFORE,
24Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
26     Section 1.  Section 373.4143, Florida Statutes, is created
27to read:
28     373.4143  Declaration of policy.--It is the policy of the
29Legislature that the state provide efficient government services
30by consolidating, to the maximum extent practicable, federal and
31state permitting associated with wetlands and navigable waters
32within the state.
33     Section 2.  Section 373.4144, Florida Statutes, is created
34to read:
35     373.4144  Federal environmental permitting.--
36     (1)  The department is directed to develop, on or before
37October 1, 2005, a mechanism or plan to consolidate, to the
38maximum extent practicable, the federal and state wetland
39permitting programs. It is the intent of the Legislature that
40all dredge and fill activities impacting 10 acres or less of
41wetlands or waters, including navigable waters, be processed by
42the state as part of the environmental resource permitting
43program implemented by the department and the water management
44districts. The resulting mechanism or plan shall analyze and
45propose the development of an expanded state programmatic
46general permit program in conjunction with the United States
47Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to s. 404 of the Clean Water
48Act, Pub. L. No. 92-500, as amended, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq.,
49and s. 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Alternatively,
50or in combination with an expanded state programmatic general
51permit, the mechanism or plan may propose the creation of a
52series of regional general permits issued by the United States
53Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to the referenced statutes. It
54is intended that the expansion of the state programmatic general
55permit program or the creation of a series of regional general
56permits provide the exclusive federal and state regulation of
57all dredge and fill activities impacting 10 acres or less of
58wetlands or waters, including navigable waters, within the
59state. All of the regional general permits must be administered
60by the department or the water management districts.
61     (2)  The department is directed to file with the Speaker of
62the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate a
63report proposing any required federal and state statutory
64changes that would be necessary to accomplish the directives
65listed in this section and to coordinate with the Florida
66Congressional Delegation on any necessary changes to federal law
67to implement the directives.
68     (3)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude
69the department from pursuing complete assumption of federal
70permitting programs regulating the discharge of dredged or fill
71material pursuant to s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, Pub. L. No.
7292-500, as amended, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq., and s. 10 of the
73Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, so long as the assumption
74encompasses all dredge and fill activities in, on, or over
75jurisdictional wetlands or waters, including navigable waters,
76within the state.
77     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.