| Material Information
||Opposing amendments to State Water Policy
||Statement of The Florida Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations, opposing amendments to State Water Policy adopted by the Environmental Regulation Commission on December 1, 1993, also stating that the adverse impacts have been legally challenged, an
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Box 5, Folder 23 ( SF STATE WATER POLICY ), Item 2
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
STATE WATER POLICY
The Florida Chamber opposes proposed amendments to State Water Policy adopted
by the Environmental Regulation Commission on December 1, 1993. These
amendments have far-reaching adverse impacts upon the regulated community and
have been legally challenged by the Chamber, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida
Engineering Society, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Florida Assocation of
Community Developers, and others.
Impact Upon Business
State Water Policy in the form of DER and now DEP administrative rule 17-40 has
been in existence since 1980. However, water policy has historically been a
restatement of policy as expressed in various Florida statutes with the intended
purpose of generally expressing the state's philosophy and approach to water
The challenged amendments consist of a series of very specific policy statements
which have direct regulatory impact upon water management districts and the general
public. This is a sharp departure from past agency expressions of water policy.
For example, the proposed amendments include a very broad definition of the term
"natural system" which is in turn incorporated into numerous statements addressing
the regulation of Florida's water resources. In one particular instance there is a
requirement that water be reserved for natural systems before allocation to the
general public and economic interests.
The Chamber has challenged the proposed water policy for at least four reasons:
(1) The policy as stated is in many instances arbitrary and there is no
statutory authority for such policy.
(2) The proposed policy does not reflect a proper balance between
providing for the needs of people as well as the natural environment.
(3) Most of the regulatory impact of the proposed policy is indirect.
The policy requires water management districts to undertake further
rulemaking to implement the policy. The effect of this indirect
approcah to rulemaking is difficult to assess and as a result Florida's
regulated community is generally unaware of the long term impact of
the proposed amendments.
(4) The policy does not address the water resource development
necessary to meet the needs of industry and the general public.
Furthermore, the 1994 Legislature created the Water Management District Review
Commission and the 1995 House Speaker has created a Select Committee on Water
Policy, both of which are intended to specifically address the question of water policy.
Adoption of extensive amendments to water policy by administrative rule is not
appropriate at this time given the degree of legislative attention expected over the
next two years.
During the 1994 Legislature, the Chamber sought passage of legislation which would
require legislative ratification of amendments to state water policy adopted after June
30, 1993. The legislation passed the Florida Senate but was amended by the Florida
House in the closing hours of the 1994 session to simply postpone the effective date
of water policy until July 1, 1995, to allow the 1995 Legislature an opportunity to
reconsider the issue. The administrative hearing was subsequently deferred until after
the 1995 session.
The Florida House also assigned the Governor's Task Force on Land and Water
Planning the task of reviewing the proposed water policy and developing
recommendations for the 1995 Legislature. The Task Force was unable to reach
consensus on the content of water policy, but did make a recommendation that water
policy be adopted by the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection
rather than the Environmental Regulation Commission.
The Florida Chamber's Natural Resources and Growth Management Committee
endorsed the following policy which has subsequently been adopted by the Chamber
Board of Directors:
STATE WATER POLICY: Support legislative enactment of a state
water policy which provides for a balance between human needs and
those of the natural environment and which applies statewide to all
levels of government; oppose the adoption of state water policy by
executive agency rule unless ratified by the Florida Legislature.
Support legislation during the 1995 Legislature to:
(1) Eliminate the authority of the Department of Environmental Regulation
to adopt state water policy by administrative rule;
(2) Require legislative ratification of proposed amendments to state water
(3) Postpone the effect of proposed water policy until the Water Management
District Review Commission and the House Select Committee on Water Policy have
completed their assigned tasks.