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Wetlands:
Targeted Industry Expedited Wetlands Permitting Process

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HB1031/SB1798
Sponsor: Representative Schenck & Senator Fasano
Legislative Session: 2007

5/4/07: House bill died in Senate messages. Senate bill died in Committee.

The Senate President's office told us the bill was not a priority and would not be going anywhere. They meant what they said.

4/28/07:Here are the reasons we oppose this legislation:

HB 1031 Expedited Permitting Process: why we oppose this legislation:

 

* Requiring agencies to “expedite” permitting for certain projects will actually pressure them to rush approvals for the projects, even if their impacts are considerable, and issues complex.

 

* It will give short shrift to the due process, which, if done as it should be, can take time, and can and should involve consulting with other agencies, organizations and the general public.

 

* The bill does not specify which steps the DEP and WMDs should skip or compress, leaving them open to guesswork, and possible charges of noncompliance if they try to fulfill their missions in a conscientious manner.

 

* The wording of the projects to be expedited is too vague.  Under this bill, any project could qualify as a “target industry” since most could be seen by local governments as improving the economy and/or creating jobs.   Suppose the “target industry” will fill in large amounts of wetlands?  Would that permit processing be expedited?  What are the short and long-term effects of pollution runoff/ water diversion / habitat destruction due to expedited permitting? 

 

* It is well-known that loss of wetlands causes economic losses, especially to ecology-related tourism.  Yet that economic issue is not even being addressed in this bill.

 

* Florida has lost over half of its wetlands.  Now is the time that more caution should be used in wetland permitting, not less. 

 

* This bill runs counter to a growing consensus about the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources, an example of which is provided in the Century Commission’s for a Sustainable Florida’s report to the Governor and Legislature issued in January.   

 

4/21/07: Next stop for Senate bill is Community Affairs. Not agendad yet. House bill could be up Monday 4/23/07.

4/14/07: next stop for this bill is the Policy & Budget Council. We anticipate an amendment to offered that will require the permit approval clock to start ticking once a COMPLETED application has been received by the local government. There will also be notice and public participation requirements included, to follow F.S.Chapter 120.


4/6/07: Thank you to all of you who called your House member on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee 4/4/07 using the alert we sent to you the other day.
 
Please thank Representatives Scott Randolph, Richard Machek, Rick Kriseman for being the only NO votes. And for asking several good questions of the sponsor, Rep. Schenck.
 
Sierra Club, 2 volunteers from Florida League of Women Voters & Howard Kessler from Wakulla County, a Commissioner speaking for himself, not the Commission, spoke against the bill.

Voting for the wetlands expedited streamline Targeted Industry permitting bill were: Chairman Mayfield, (we recognized him for being with us today as he has been out fighting cancer), Representatives Troutman, Allen, Glorioso, Grimsley, Kendrick, Kreegel, Nelson, Williams, Brandenburg, Boyd (she did ask questions about public notice time frame being shortened and said she wanted to work on this).  We hope you will pick up the phone, send an email to your member on this committee and let them hear from you again. Especially thank the three who voted NO!!!!
This bill could have expedited SCRIPPs, manufacturing industries...
Susie

 

S1798    GENERAL BILL by Fasano  (Identical H 1031)
  Economic Dev. Projects/Permitting [RPCC]; requires DEP & WMDs to adopt
  programs to expedite processing of permits for certain economic
  development projects. Creates 380.0657.  EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/01/2007.
  02/21/07 SENATE Filed
  03/07/07 SENATE Introduced, referred to Environmental Preservation and
                  Conservation; Community Affairs; Commerce; General Government
                  Appropriations -SJ 00117

Status

5/4/07: House bill died in Senate messages; Senate bill died in Committee.

4/28/07: House bill is now in Senate messages and the Senate bill has three committees it has to be withdrawn from. This is not unusual to have the sponsor have the bill removed from substantive committees and brought to the House floor.

4/21/07: Senate bill's next stop is Community Affairs and it has not been agendad yet.

The House bill could be up 4/23/07 Monday. There is a two hour notice on posting of bills.

4/14/07: next stop for the House Bill 1031 is the Policy & Budget Council. Next stop for SB1798 is now in Senate Community Affair, no date yet.

3/31/07: The Senate bill was voted out of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on 3/29/07. Only Senator Nan Rich voted correctly. She voted no to the expedited wetlands streamline permitting program. Please contact her and thank her for her NO vote.

3/24/07:  The day the bill was heard in committee, there were only 5 members present. This was enough for a quorum. Three democrats and 2 republicans were present. Representatives Randolph and Fitzgerald voted NO, that was the correct vote for this bad bill. Representative Saunders, should have voted no with them, but he didn't. Thus the bill passed.

3/5/09: Comments from Florida Chapter Sierra Club Wetlands Committee member, Rosalie Shaffer:

HB 1031/ SB 1798  Expedited Permitting Process
 
We oppose this bill.
 
Requiring agencies to “expedite” permitting for certain projects will actually pressure them to rush approvals for the projects, even if their impacts are considerable, and issues complex.
 
It will give short shrift to the due process, which, if done as it should be, can take time, and can and should involve consulting with other agencies, organizations and the general public.
 
The bill does not specify which steps the DEP and WMDs should skip or compress, leaving them open to guesswork, and possible charges of noncompliance if they try to fulfill their missions in a conscientious manner.
 
The wording of the projects to be expedited is too vague.  Under this bill, any project could qualify as a “target industry” since most could be seen by local governments as improving the economy and/or creating jobs.   Suppose the “target industry” will fill in large amounts of wetlands?  Would that permit processing be expedited?  What are the short and long-term effects of pollution runoff/ water diversion / habitat destruction due to expedited permitting? 
 
It is well-known that loss of wetlands causes economic losses, especially to ecology-related tourism.  Yet that economic issue is not even being addressed in this bill.
 
Florida has lost over half of its wetlands.  Now is the time that more caution should be used in wetland permitting, not less. 
 
This bill runs counter to a growing consensus about the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources, an example of which is provided in the Century Commission’s for a Sustainable Florida’s report to the Governor and Legislature issued in January.    
 
The bill is a move in the wrong direction for Florida's future.
 

Action Needed

3/27/07:

TALLAHASSEE REPORT

FLORIDA CHAPTER SIERRA CLUB

3-27-07

 

ACTION NEEDED NOW  for Thursday:

 

Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee meeting THURSDAY 9AM. Please contact each member below and tell them to VOTE  “NO” on SB1798: Economic development projects: wetlands permitting.

This is the Senate companion to HB1031.

This bill expedites wetlands permitting for “targeted” economic development. 

 

http://www.florida.sierraclub.org/tracker/HB1031.html

 

We oppose this bill.

 

Requiring agencies to “expedite” permitting for certain projects will actually pressure them to rush approvals for the projects, even if their impacts are considerable, and issues complex.

 

It will give short shrift to the due process, which, if done as it should be, can take time, and can and should involve consulting with other agencies, organizations and the general public.

 

The bill does not specify which steps the DEP and WMDs should skip or compress, leaving them open to guesswork, and possible charges of noncompliance if they try to fulfill their missions in a conscientious manner.

 

The wording of the projects to be expedited is too vague.  Under this bill, any project could qualify as a “target industry” since most could be seen by local governments as improving the economy and/or creating jobs.   Suppose the “target industry” will fill in large amounts of wetlands?  Would that permit processing be expedited?  What are the short and long-term effects of pollution runoff/ water diversion / habitat destruction due to expedited permitting? 

 

It is well-known that loss of wetlands causes economic losses, especially to ecology-related tourism.  Yet that economic issue is not even being addressed in this bill.

 

Florida has lost over half of its wetlands.  Now is the time that more caution should be used in wetland permitting, not less. 

 

This bill runs counter to a growing consensus about the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources, an example of which is provided in the Century Commission’s for a Sustainable Florida’s report to the Governor and Legislature issued in January.    

 

The bill is a move in the wrong direction for Florida's future.

 

 

Senate Environmental Preservation &Conservation Committee 2007

Sen. Burt Saunders (Chair)      

Capitol phone: 850-487-5124              saunders.burt.web@flsenate.gov          

District phone: 239-417-6220 

District fax: 239-417-6223

 

Sen. Nan Rich (V. Chair)         

Capitol phone: 850-487-5103              rich.nan.web@flsenate.gov      

District phone: 954-747-7933 

District fax: 954-747-7935

 

Sen. Paula Dockery     

Capitol phone: 850-487-5040              dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov         

District phone: 863-413-2900 

District fax: 863-413-2902

 

Sen. Don Gaetz           

Capitol phone: 850-487-5009              gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov    

District phone: 850-897-5747 

District fax: 850-897-5748

 

Sen. Dennis Jones        

Capitol phone: 850-487-5065              jones.dennis.web@flsenate.gov

District phone: 727-549-6411 

District fax: 727-549-6413

 

Sen. Charlie Justice      

Capitol phone: 850-487-5075              justice.charlie.web@flsenate.gov          

District phone: 727-217-7970

District fax: 727-217-7972

 

 

 

Click here to contact your Florida House of Representative

Click here to contact your Florida Senator

 

Tell them the reasons why we don't like this legislation.

 

More information

To learn more about the House Bill, click here

 

To Learn more about the Senate Bill, click here

Background

Water/Wetland Protection: We will be faced with several proposed local government preemptions, such as one bill we defeated in 2006 which would have prevented local governments from having stronger wetlands protections than the state. 

Another one we are hearing about this year would pre-empt local governments who presently have the ability to pass fertilizer ordinances limiting the use of same thus protecting watersheds and rivers and streams. We are supportive of strong springshed protections. We oppose the streamlining of or weakening of protections for wetlands and especially the phosphate mining companies who are seeking a “cradle to grave” category of permit.

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