> Chapter Home
 

Water:
Fertilizer Task force

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HB1197/SB1952
Sponsor: REP.NELSON WAS FERTILIZER TASK FORCE SPONSOR
Legislative Session: 2007

GOVERNOR SIGNED BILL INTO LAW

5/3/07:SENATE Concurred -SJ 01239; CS passed as amended (691271, 528133);
                  YEAS  39  NAYS  0 -SJ 01240; Ordered engrossed, then enrolled
                  -SJ 01240

  05/02/07 HOUSE  Read 3rd time -HJ 00976; CS passed as amended; YEAS  111
                  NAYS  3 -HJ 00979
  05/02/07 SENATE In returning messages in the Senate.

5/1/07: bill was amended and local government pre-emption and moratorium was deleted, however a Task force (heavily favored for Agriculture interests) is created to develop a statewide model, with some wiggle room language to allow local governments flexibility for their own USE OF FERTILIZER ordinance, HOWEVER, the local governments will have the burden to prove why they need their own model.

This massive increase in the use of fertilizer on urban and suburban landscapes represents a serious threat to water quality in our state. While there are many sources of water pollution, mounting evidence points to nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer runoff as major contributors to the degradation of our water quality. 

 Any “one size fits all” policy for fertilizer management does not fit a state as large and diverse as Florida.  It is in the public interest to craft and implement targeted local policies that respond to specific water quality concerns in each community. I view the proposed amendment being sought by the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association as a threat to both the efficacy of Florida’s government and to the long term health of our invaluable water resources.

FERTILIZER TASK FORCE BURRIED IN SB1952, Agriculture S1952: GENERAL BILL/CS by Higher Education; Commerce  (Similar CS/CS/H 1197) Agriculture & Consumer Services Department [EPCC]; revises requirements for obtaining Class "MA," Class "M," or Class "C" license as private  investigator; requires person who conducts Internet-based training or correspondence training for repossessor licensees to have Class "RS" license; prohibits person other than owner or other authorized person
  from removing gas from liquefied petroleum gas container or receptacle
  for any gas or compound, FERTILIZER TASK FORCE..

 

4/28/07:

We all need to be communicating with our Senators and asking them not to take up any amendments pertaining to a statewide effort for one size fits all fertilizer standard/ordinance for all 67 counties. The original amendment that went onto HB1197, last Friday, 4/20/07,  was terrible. It pre-empted local governments, established a moratorium and had a task force that was very one sided and made up of predominantly the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services  and the fertilizer industry.   The language creates a task force regarding fertilizer and also preempts local government regulation until the task force is completed. 

 

There are some exceptions to that for water quality reasons, but the language has gone through many revisions and continues to change.  The preemption is of course troubling, but even if it is removed from the bill, we still have concerns with the way this issue has progressed.  The Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association has been pushing this language.  

 

The task force will be charged with creating a model ordinance for local governments, which local governments may or may not be able to deviate from.  And local governments and environmentalists  have very little representation on the task force itself.  All of us, collectively, have asked repeatedly for additional local representation and we did get one representative from the environmental community added, but the local governments have basically gotten nowhere.  We are being told that only the best and brightest minds should be on this task force and local governments have staff and we have incredible resources with a lot of knowledge that could be a great asset to this group. Collectively we have asked for a representative from the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies group, and one from the Florida Stormwater Association.  Both groups have local government technical staff on them, who could easily participate in such a group. 

 

We also want it to be made clear that water quality needs to be an important component of this discussion.  However, the language is very focused on agronomics and horticulture, rather than water quality.  Without a holistic approach, this group cannot be successful in crafting a model ordinance that will adequately protect water quality.

 

Whether or not this bill passes, the Sierra Club and the Association of Counties fully intends to work with DEP, DACS, the League of Cities, the Florida Pest Management Association, and other interested stakeholders this summer to address the regulation of fertilizer and determine how we can all partner and work together, rather than working against one another.  We want to turn the focus more toward educating homeowners so that they can be better environmental stewards.  But this task force is clearly being pushed by the fertilizer manufacturers, and it is essentially a delayed preemption, because Representative Nelson fully intends to be the Legislator appointed to the task force, and in fact he has already scheduled the first meeting of the group to be held May 23rd in Apopka and we have been invited to attend.  With the makeup of the task force and the intent of the task force,  there is a predetermined outcome here, and it is the preemption of local government regulation.

 

DACS is currently working on a rule that will address the content and labeling of fertilizer sold at retail for homeowner use in Florida.  We support a statewide standard, and we believe it is long overdue.  However, local governments must retain the ability to fill in the gaps where it is necessary to protect water quality, so that we can fulfill our responsibilities under the total maximum daily load program.  As you know, local governments hold stormwater permits that will eventually contain TMDLs.  Without the ability to improve water quality in our communities, we will find ourselves on the hook for compliance and enforcement costs, and we will be forced to leave our impaired waterbodies in a continued state of impairment.

 

The companion bill, SB 1952 by the Commerce Committee, passed the Senate with no amendments, so it does not currently contain the task force language.  There are now additional amendments to HB 1197, one of which may take the preemption off the table, so it appears that the House may take up that bill instead of the Senate version.  It is important to keep in mind that, even if preemption does not occur immediately with this bill, it will very likely occur if this task force in its current form will be making the recommendation.

 

 

We have had several working groups  and there have been a lot of calls and emails flying,  newspaper articles published,  tempers escalated and lines in the sand have been drawn.

Please continue to inform your Senator and Representative to AVOID government pre-emption and moratorium language. Our message is NO TASK FORCE, NO MORATORIUM, NO PRE-Emption. However, there is a new amendment floating around that COULD  be amended to Senate bill, SB1952, when it comes up for Third reading,  it still has an unfair task force, no longer a moratorium, but has a requirement for the creation of  statewide guidelines, with attention to the geographic regions, recommends methods to ensure local ordinances are based on best available data and science to achieve uniformity among local government ordinance where possible, unless local ordinance variations are necessary to meet mandated state and federal water quality standards.    This new language still places too high a burdon on local governments to prove why they need to have their own ordinance.

 

 

4/21/07:  Fertilizer local government pre-emption language amended 4/20/07 to HB1197. Senator Saunders wants an interim study, however, he believes that there should be a ONE SIZE fits all fertilizer statewide standard. Which would agree to disagree. We know that there has to be flexibility for local governments to have control over fertilizer applications because what works in Tallahassee, doesn't work in Miami, etc. But for now, we need him and the rest of the Senate members to not support legislation this session and to support an interim study. There will be another amendment to what was adopted on Friday. Hopefully we will get the moratorium out and a better task force. BUT we oppose any legislation this session. 

http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070421/LOCAL/704210360/-1/news

 

Apr 21, 2007

House panel backs bill on fertilizer law moratorium

ANNA SCOTT

Sun Tallahassee Bureau

 

TALLAHASSEE - A House council approved a moratorium on local fertilizer laws Friday but agreed to carve out an exception for communities already working on laws to protect their waterways.

The proposal (HB 1197) - endorsed by the House Policy and Budget Council - still pits the fertilizer industry lobby against local governments, who oppose the idea because it sets the stage for creation of a state law instead.

Fertilizer representatives said they are pushing for a moratorium because a swell of communities passing restrictive laws threatens their production business. They can't afford to make special products for 67 counties and countless municipalities, said Samual Ard, a lobbyist for the Florida Fertilizer and Agricultural Association.

"You wouldn't believe how expensive it is just to make a label,'' Ard said. "If a fertilizer company has to make 400 different labels to sell in Florida, they're not going to do it.''

Under the proposed legislation, a task force of scientists and representatives from the fertilizer industry and local government would make recommendations for a new state law by January. Meanwhile, no new local laws banning certain fertilizers or chemicals could be passed until May 2008.

Rep. Michael Grant, R-Port Charlotte, suggested special provisions for communities already far along in the process, such as Sarasota, which is in his district. But he supported the move to create a state law.

"I'm very concerned that we would have 67 counties coming up with 67 rules and regulations that ultimately would cost our taxpayers and people who buy these fertilizers,'' Grant said.

"If we come up with best practices we should impose those statewide, and not just have them willy-nilly depending on what one little board of county commissioners thinks.''

The proposal was first introduced and heard by lawmakers Friday, only two weeks before the end of the legislative session. It is tucked into a larger bill with regulations relating to agriculture.

County representatives said the bill was proposed too late and essentially cut local government out of the discussion.

"We've had very little time to comment, very little time to really consider the implications of what we're doing,'' said Diana Grawitch of the Florida Association of Counties.

Environmentalists were also unhappy. Susie Caplowe of the state's Sierra Club said the delay could lead to further pollution of waterways and would cost communities more in the long run to fix the problem.

However, the proposal does allow communities to ban fertilizers if they prove its necessary to comply with federal regulations.

Status

click here to read HB1197

click here to read SB1952

Action Needed

GOVERNOR SIGNED BILL INTO LAW

5/3/07: Senate passed SB1952 and ordered enrolled. Will be on the Governor's desk soon.

5/1/07: bill was amended and local government pre-emption and moratorium was deleted, however a Task force (heavily favored for Agriculture interests) is created to develop a statewide model, with some wiggle room language to allow local governments flexibility for their own ordinance, HOWEVER, the local governments will have the burden to prove why they need their own model.


4/28/07:Please continue to inform your Senator and Representative to AVOID government pre-emption and moratorium language. Our message is NO TASK FORCE, NO MORATORIUM, NO PRE-Emption. However, there is a new amendment floating around that COULD  be amended to Senate bill, SB1952, when it comes up for Third reading,  it still has an unfair task force, no longer a moratorium, but has a requirement for the creation of  statewide guidelines, with attention to the geographic regions, recommends methods to ensure local ordinances are based on best available data and science to achieve uniformity among local government ordinance where possible, unless local ordinance variations are necessary to meet mandated state and federal water quality standards.    This new language still places too high a burdon on local governments to prove why they need to have their own ordinance.

 4/21/07: Contact members of the Senate and inform them of the local government pre-emption and moratorium. Ask them to support Senator Burt Saunders and the interim study.

Tell them no bill is needed this session. Tell them the Counties and Cities are acting responsibly to protect the waters of their communities and regions from the impacts of fertilizer application.

 

 

 

Background

5/3/07: FERTILIZER TASK FORCE BURRIED IN SB1952, Agriculture S1952: GENERAL BILL/CS by Higher Education; Commerce  (Similar CS/CS/H 1197) Agriculture & Consumer Services Department [EPCC]; revises requirements for obtaining Class "MA," Class "M," or Class "C" license as private  investigator; requires person who conducts Internet-based training or correspondence training for repossessor licensees to have Class "RS" license; prohibits person other than owner or other authorized person
  from removing gas from liquefied petroleum gas container or receptacle
  for any gas or compound, FERTILIZER TASK FORCE..

4/21/07: As the end of the 2007 legislative session draws near, I urge you to protect the public interest in clean water and oppose a proposed fertilizer preemption amendment, introduced by Rep. Bryan Nelson, to HB 1197 that seeks to strip cities and counties of their basic rights to maintain and improve water quality standards.

 During the past year, cities and counties from different parts of Florida have dedicated considerable time and resources to develop common sense science based fertilizer policies that address their regional water quality concerns.  Now in the final weeks of the legislative session, the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association has come forward with a misguided proposal to restrict the ability of cities and counties to engage in this type of constructive dialogue. 

 This issue is of critical concern in the state of Florida, as according to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the purchase and sale of fertilizers for residential use increased by 153,533.95 tons or 45% from 2003 to 2006

 This massive increase in the use of fertilizer on urban and suburban landscapes represents a serious threat to water quality in our state. While there are many sources of water pollution, mounting evidence points to nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer runoff as major contributors to the degradation of our water quality. 

 Any “one size fits all” policy for fertilizer management does not fit a state as large and diverse as Florida.  It is in the public interest to craft and implement targeted local policies that respond to specific water quality concerns in each community. I view the proposed amendment being sought by the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association as a threat to both the efficacy of Florida’s government and to the long term health of our invaluable water resources.  Please oppose this ill-conceived last minute attempt and do not permit this proposed amendment to be attached to any piece of legislation.

This massive increase in the use of fertilizer on urban and suburban landscapes represents a clear and pressing threat to our water quality. While there are many sources of water pollution, mounting evidence points to nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer as major contributors to the degradation of our water quality.  The excessive runoff of nitrogen and phosphorous into canals, ponds, and open waterways either directly or through various drainage and stormwater systems generally is recognized as a major factor in escalating coastal eutrophication.  Eutrophication from non-point source pollution degrades the quality of our freshwater, estuarine and coastal water resources, which ultimately impacts both the health of coastal residents and the vitality of the coastal economy. 

 

According to the 2004 consensus report from the US Commission on Ocean Policy, “Non-point source pollution has increased and is the primary cause of nutrient enrichment, hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, toxic contamination, and other problems that plague coastal waters.” “Non-point source pollution occurs when rainfall and snowmelt wash pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, pet waste, sediments, oil, chemicals, and litter into our rivers and coastal waters.” 

 

 


Harmful Algal Blooms such as Florida’s Red Tide, Karenia brevis, and nuisance macroalgae such as Red Drift Algae now batter our once-pristine beaches and bays.  The explosive growth of toxic algae can result in marine mammal deaths and fish kills, increased human health risks due to inhalation and exposure to toxins, as well as significant losses in revenue for coastal businesses.  This burgeoning threat necessitates immediate action and common sense regulation to prevent the misuse of residential and commercial fertilizers next to waterways and along drainage system such as roads, retention ponds, gutters, channels and storm drains. 

 Florida Chapter Red Tide Committee

 

Other Bills

     
     

© copyright Sierra Club 1892-2011