Florida House Advances DEP-EPA Deal

Randall Weiseman Cattle, Citrus, Field Crops, Florida, Forestry, General, Livestock, Nursery Crops, Specialty Crops

From The News Service of Florida:

The House Rulemaking Oversight and Repeal Subcommittee on Monday started the process for the Legislature to accept a deal with the federal government that gives Florida more say over the state’s river, lake and estuary standards.

The measure (HB 7115) is intended to have the state Department of Environmental Protection set new standards by the end of the 2014. The DEP reached a deal March 15 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that expanded the state’s authority to set nitrogen and phosphorus levels in most of the state’s coastal streams, estuaries and rivers, including the Intracoastal Waterway.

“In Florida we know our water is different than in other parts of the country and the EPA has recognized that,” said Rep. Jake Rayburn, R-Lithia, the sponsor of the bill.

The proposal is to next appear before the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee before reaching the House floor is opposed by the Sierra Club Florida, which contends the deal will result in a lowered level of quality for Florida’s waters.

The Senate version (SB 1808) has one committee appearance planned, Community Affairs, but no hearing date has been set.

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