Legislation Proposed by
The Environmental Efficiency Study Commission
On February 1, 1988, the Commission submitted its report to the
President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. The
legislation was submitted at the end of March and organizational
charts were submitted the following month.
The two major recommendations of the Commission were the transfer
of the Henderson Wetlands Act and all other dredge and fill
permitting to the water management districts and the transfer of
the administration of sovereign submerged lands and aquatic
preserve rules of the Governor and Cabinet to the water
management districts, with rulemaking, appeal rights, and review
authority retained in the Governor and Cabinet.
The legislation consisted of three bills. Two bills were related
to the current ad valorem tax millage cap imposed by the Florida
Constitution on Northwest Florida Water Management District.
House Joint Resolution 1279 proposed a constitutional amendment.
This Joint Resolution proposed to amend Section 9 of Article VII
of the state Constitution by increasing the present
constitutional .05 millage cap imposed in the areas comprising
the Northwest Florida Water Management District to 1.0 mill. If
the Joint Resolution is adopted by the Legislature, the proposed
amendment would be placed on the ballot at the next general
election, for approval or rejection by the state's electors. The
District could not, however, increase its millage cap unless the
Legislature amended the statutory cap.
House Bill 1280 would increase the statutory limit on ad valorem
taxes for Northwest Florida Water Management District from 0.05
mills to 0.5 mills. It would take effect on the effective date
of the amendment to the state Constitution if the change in the
Constitution was approved by the electors at the general election
in November, 1988.
House Bill 1281 contains all of the other changes proposed to the
Legislature by the Environmental Efficiency Study Commission.
Section 1--Directs DER to give consideration to the promotion of
water conservation, the use and reuse of water at the lowest
acceptable quality for the purpose intended, and the development
of incentives for innovative methods of water recycling in its
formulation of the state water use plan.
Section 2--Authorizes the governing boards of the water
management districts to by rule delegate to counties and
municipalities the administration of any statutes, rules or
regulations the districts are authorized or required to
administer, including those delegated by a state agency to the
districts, if the governing boards deem such delegation to be
necessary or desirable. However, the delegations shall be made
only if the governing board determines that the county's or
municipality's program for administering the delegated statute,
rule or regulation provides for requirements that are compatible
or stricter or more extensive than those imposed by the statute
or the rules and regulations, provides for enforcement of the
requirements, and provides for the administrative organization,
staff, and financial and other resources necessary to effectively
and efficiently enforce such requirements.
Section 3--Authorizes the permit fees charged by the water
management districts to cover the cost of monitoring the
conditions placed on permits.
Section 4--States that nothing in the section of the statutes
relating to local pollution control programs affects the
authority of local governments to establish permit fees, or the
amount of said fees.
Section 5--Amends the policy of the state with regard to the
relationship of DER to the water management districts to provide
that the DER is given the power and responsibility to accomplish
the conservation, protection, management, and control of waters
of the state through supervision of the water management
districts, rather than through delegation of power to the various
water management districts. Directs DER to adopt and enforce
such rules and review procedures as may be necessary or
convenient to administer its supervisory role. Strikes language
that permits DER to exercise any power authorized to be exercised
by a water management district.
Section 6--Strikes language giving the DER the authority to
exercise any power authorized to be exercised by a water
management district. Directs the DER to marshal the state's many
research resources to aid the environmental decisionmaking
process, and establish, maintain, and administer a statewide
environmental resources data bank, to act as a clearinghouse for
environmental information, and to establish a research institute
to design and administer a comprehensive research program on
environmental issues of concern, to be funded by an annual
transfer of 30 percent of the balance of the Florida Permit Fee
Trust Fund established existing section 403.0871, Florida
Section 7--Renumbers Section 373.029, Florida Statutes, relating
to the Southeast River Basins Resources Advisory Board, as
Section 8--Begins striking references in Chapter 373 to DER
performing functions now typically performed by the five water
management districts, by striking references to the DER
performing duties relating to saltwater barrier lines. Striking
references to DER performing duties now generally performed by
the water management districts is done throughout the bill.
Section 9--Renumbers Section 373.039, Florida Statutes, relating
to the Florida Water Plan, as Section 403.0618, Florida Statutes.
Section 10--Strikes references to the DER establishing minimum
flows and level of waters, leaving references to the water
management districts (See the explanation in section 9).
Section 11--States that personnel rules of the DER shall include
a system of career ladders which allow qualified scientific and
enforcement personnel to advance in salary and seniority in
nonadministrative positions and that personnel rules shall also
include a pay grade for trial attorneys.
Section 12--Amends Section 373.046, Florida Statutes, to
authorize water management districts to enter into interagency
agreements with other state agencies and to authorize the
department to enter into agreements with water management
districts relating to water resources of the state. Authorizes
the water management districts to delegate to other districts or
Section 13--Deletes language in Section 373.103, Florida
Statutes, specifying that certain duties are to be performed by
the water management districts only at DER's discretion.
Section 14--(See the explanation in section 8).
Section 15--States that where fines are used as a method of
enforcement, the governing board shall adopt rules which
establish a procedure for determining the fine.
Sections 16-40--(See the explanation in section 8).
Section 41--Strikes language which directs those water management
districts to which the DER has delegated the administration of
DER's stormwater rule to adopt rules establishing permitting
criteria for isolated wetlands and directs each district to adopt
Sections 42-49--(See the explanation in section 8).
Section 50--Directs "the governing board" (each governing board
may be more appropriate language) to establish incentives to
encourage third party reporting of violations.
Section 51--(See the explanation in section-8).
Section 52--States that where fines are used as a method of
enforcement, the "governing board" shall adopt rules establishing
procedures for determining the amount of the fine. ("the
governing boards" may be more appropriate language.)
SSection 53--Repeals Sections 373.043 and 373.308, Florida
Statutes, relating to the adoption of rules by DER for the
administration of Chapter 373 and the delegation of the authority
to implement programs relating to water wells from DER to the
water management districts.
Section 54--Reenacts Sections 373.323-.342, Florida Statutes,
relating to water water well contractor licensing and driller and
drilling equipment registration, and enforcement, notwithstanding
the provisions of the Regulatory Sunset Act. Does not subject
these sections to further "sunset" review and scheduled repeal.
Section 55--Reenacts Sections 373.073-.103, Florida Statutes,
relating to governing boards and basin boards of water management
districts, notwithstanding the provisions of the Sundown Act.
Does not subject these sections to further "sundown" review and
Section 56--Exempts the construction of domestic or industrial
wastewater treatment facilities which use artificial recharge,
wetlands overflow, or the intentional introduction of water into
an underground formation as a method of wastewater disposal from
regulation by water management districts pursuant to Section
373.106, Florida Statutes, and states that such will be within
the exclusive jurisdiction of the DER.
Section 57--Directs the DER to retain its employees by
establishing career paths for qualified scientific and
enforcement personnel to allow advancement in salary and
seniority in nonadministrative positions, and by establishing a
pay grade for trial attorneys. Gives DER the exclusive
jurisdiction over methods of industrial and domestic wastewater
treatment and disposal and the amount of water reuse required.
Wastewater disposal includes, but is not limited to land
spreading, rapid infiltration, percolation, wetlands overflow,
and deep well injection.
Section 58--Directs the DER to adopt rules which establish a
procedure for determining the amount of damages caused by
violators in instances where the DER is recovering damages to the
air, waters, or property of the state as a part of administrative
procedures. Also, directs the DER to establish incentives to
encourage the third-party reporting of violations.
Section 59--Directs the Board of Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Trust Fund (the Governor and Cabinet) to adopt rules
to take effect no later than October 1, 1989, authorizing the
water management districts, beginning January 1, 1990, to serve
as agents for the board and to act on behalf of the board in its
administration of grants of easements, licenses and leases of
lands under navigable streams or any river owned in whole or in
part by the state. Authorizes the Board to, as of January 1,
1990, initiate review of an action by a water management district
with respect to such lands. To initiate review, the board shall
give notice to the water management district and the riparian
owner within 30 days after the action by the district. If review
by the Board is initiated, the action by the district is not
subject to the review procedures of Section 373.114. States that
the districts may keep 20 percent of the application fees for
such grants, easements, and leases.
Section 60--Effective January 1, 1990, several sections of
Chapter 403, Florida Statutes, relating to permitting of
activities in wetlands and known as the "Warren S. Henderson
Wetlands Protection Act of 1984" is transferred to Chapter 373,
and the powers and duties assigned to DER under those sections
are transferred to the water management districts.
Section 61--Effective January 1, 1990, several sections of
Chapter 403, Florida Statutes, relating to permits for the
alteration of mangroves are renumbered as sections of Chapter
Section62--Directs each water management district operating
under the guidance of the department to adopt rules, between July
1, 1989 and November 15, 1989, which consolidate its rules
relating to management and storage of surface water with
permitting criteria for wetlands protected under the. Warren S.
Henderson Wetlands Protection Act of 1984 and for those isolated
wetlands protected under Section 313.414. The section states:
"These rules shall strive to achieve statewide uniformity and
consistency, but allow for regional variations." The secretary
of DER is directed to review the rules using general supervisory
authority and consistency review authority pursuant to Chapter
17-20, Florida Administrative Code. The rules may not take
effect prior to January 1, 1990.
Sections 63-65--Conforming amendments relating to section 62.
Section 66--Creates Section 373.104, Florida Statutes, stating
that water management district activities or projects which would
require permits if conducted by others shall be regulated by the
Section 67--Directs that the Legislature study and determine
whether and to what extent other water programs should be
transferred to the water management districts.
Sections 68, 69--Cross reference amendments to conform the
statutes to section 62.
Section 70--Makes a Legislative finding that the discharge of
untreated stormwater is a source of water pollution and requires
regulation and directs each water management district to adopt
and administer a program to prevent water pollution by discharges
of stormwater. Directs each district to adopt by November 15,
1989, and enforce, effective January 1, 1990, rules which
consolidate its rules relating to management and storage of
surface waters with rules for the regulation of stormwater
discharge. The DER shall continue to enforce the provisions of
its current stormwater rules in any water management district
that has not adopted rules for the regulation of stormwater until
it adopts the regulations.
Section 71--Repeals provisions relating to the delegation of
stormwater regulation from DER to the water management districts,
because the districts are given independent authority to regulate
stormwater in the previous section.
Section 72--States that conditions imposed by the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) when it is permitting activities under
section 161.041 upon sovereignty lands must be consistent with
scientific assessments and recommendations made by the water
Section 73--States that where oil and gas leases involve
sovereign submerged land or wetland areas within the jurisdiction
of the water management districts, scientific assessments and
recommendations of their technical staff shall be binding in the
evaluation of the terms and conditions of the lease.
Sections 74-76--States that with regard to mine reclamation that
the scientific assessments made by the water management districts
are binding on the DNR in its establishment of reclamation
Sections 77-89--Amend the statutes to transfer the administration
of the Florida Safe Drinking Water Program from joint
administration by the DER and the Department of Health and
Rehabilitative Services to administration of the entire program
by the DER, and makes certain clarifications regarding delegation
from DER to county health units or local pollution control
Section 90--Amends Section 380.06 to make several changes to the
development of regional impact review process:
1. States that all developers shall undergo conceptual
agency review unless they withdraw from such review by
giving notice to the regional planning council;
2. Requires all agencies that require a permit for a project
to participate in conceptual agency review and in the
3. Requires the developer to submit an application for
development approval and all agency applications, but
does not toll the 90 day time period specified in s.
120.60(2) if a reviewing agency finds that an application
is insufficient. The extent of agency review shall
depend upon the amount of information provided by the
4. Requires each agency to forward a report to the regional
Planning council regarding the development impacts of the
project and stating the action that the agency intends to
take. If the agency intends to grant conceptual approval
the regional planning council may not make conflicting
recommendations or findings and shall forward all the
agency reports to the local government. The conditions
in the development .order must be consistent with the
agency report unless the conditions would conflict with
the local government's adopted comprehensive plan or land
5. Provides that if an agency fails to complete conceptual
review within the time period specified in s. 120.60(2),
the conceptual approval shall be deemed approved.
6. Provides that all development order conditions shall be
based upon the local government's adopted local
comprehensive plan or land development regulation. Once
a local government plan has been approved pursuant to
Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
Development Regulation Act, the development order
conditions may not impose conditions on a development of
regional impact that it could not impose on a
non-development of regional impact.
Section 91--Directs the Department of Community Affairs to, by
October 1, 1988, initiate rulemaking to revise the application
for development approval and procedural rules for development of
regional impact review in order to update the types and level of
information required to eliminate unnecessary information
Section 92--Provides an effective date of October 1, 1988, except
as otherwise provided in the act.