Florida Senate - 2018 SB 656 By Senator Rodriguez 37-00060A-18 2018656__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public utility environmental 3 remediation costs; creating s. 366.8256, F.S.; 4 defining the term “county”; authorizing a municipality 5 or a county operating under a home rule charter to 6 file a request with the Public Service Commission for 7 a hearing for a determination of prudence on 8 environmental damage caused by a public utility; 9 prohibiting the commission from conducting any hearing 10 regarding recovery for remediation of such 11 environmental damage until after the commission makes 12 such a determination or until the request is 13 dismissed; requiring that pending hearings regarding 14 recovery for remediation of such environmental damage 15 be stayed until after the commission makes its 16 determination or until the request is dismissed; 17 requiring the public utility to submit a cost estimate 18 for certain remediation expenses; requiring the 19 commission to make a determination as to the prudence 20 of a utility’s actions leading up to and in response 21 to the environmental damage; prohibiting the utility 22 from recovering expenditures to remedy the damage upon 23 a finding that the utility did not act prudently; 24 requiring the utility to develop a plan to remedy 25 damages under certain circumstances; requiring the 26 utility to specify how certain expenditures will be 27 internalized; providing an effective date. 28 29 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 30 31 Section 1. Section 366.8256, Florida Statutes, is created 32 to read: 33 366.8256 Remediation costs of environmental damage; 34 determination of prudence; recovery.— 35 (1) For purposes of this section, the term “county” has the 36 same meaning as in s. 125.011(1). 37 (2) If the Department of Environmental Protection makes a 38 determination that a public utility has caused environmental 39 damage within the state, a municipality or county in which such 40 damage occurred may file a request for a hearing with the 41 commission for a determination of prudence on the environmental 42 damage the public utility caused within the boundaries of the 43 municipality or county or adjacent bodies of water. Such request 44 must be submitted by the municipality or county as prescribed by 45 the commission. Upon the filing of this request: 46 (a) The commission may not conduct any hearing regarding 47 recovery for remediation of such environmental damage until 48 after the commission makes its determination pursuant to 49 subsection (4) or the request is dismissed; and 50 (b) Any pending hearing regarding recovery for remediation 51 of such environmental damage must be stayed until after the 52 commission makes its determination pursuant to subsection (4) or 53 the request is dismissed. 54 (3) At the hearing requested by the municipality or county 55 under subsection (2), the public utility shall disclose an 56 estimate of the full cost to remedy the environmental damage. 57 (4) After the hearing, the commission shall determine: 58 (a) If the public utility acted prudently in the events 59 leading up to or causing the environmental damage. 60 (b) If the public utility, upon becoming aware of the 61 environmental damage or at such time as the utility should have 62 been aware of such damage, acted prudently to remedy the damage. 63 (5) Notwithstanding s. 366.8255, if the commission 64 determines that the public utility failed to act prudently, the 65 public utility may not recover any expenditures to remedy the 66 environmental damage from ratepayers. If so determined, the 67 public utility must: 68 (a) Timely develop a plan, acting in good faith and in 69 conjunction with the local municipality or county, to remedy any 70 remaining environmental damage. The plan must be approved by the 71 commission. The commission may specify reasonable deadlines for 72 the submission of the plan to the commission for approval. 73 (b) Specify to the commission how any costs incurred for 74 environmental remediation, including costs incurred in 75 implementing the plan, will be internalized by the public 76 utility. 77 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.