Title: 2 Regulatory Trains on Separate Tracks
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00001379/00001
 Material Information
Title: 2 Regulatory Trains on Separate Tracks
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Florida Council of 100
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: 2 Regulatory Trains on Separate Tracks, by Louis E. Fischer
General Note: Box 8, Folder 4 ( Vail Conference, 1994 - 1994 ), Item 34
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00001379
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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2 Regulatory Trains On Separate Tracks


By LOUIS E. FSCHER
Rodda Counrx of 100
he Council of 100 has been a strong propo-
nent of growth management dating back to
1985 when the council endorsed the effort,
and a number of its members served on the state
comprehensive planning commission.
Today, it appears that growth management
efforts designed to protect the environment and
environmental regulatory programs are running
on separate tracks. Integrating the regulatory
components of growth management with the en-
vironmental permitting programs of the agen-
cies, in line with legislative intent, is the next
major challenge before us. There are 10 issues we
consider critical in achieving our mutual goal:
1) The consolidation of the DER and DNR into
a single department is hot without challenges. We
now have a single agency with nearly 4,000 em-
ployees, including 70 lawyers. And the agency's
current budget calls for 500 additional employees.
Combining two large agencies should provide
the opportunity to greatly reduce overhead and
manpower through consolidation of responsibili-
ties and ending duplication. Also, we recognize the
constraints on efficiency and effectiveness im-
posed by non-competitive wage scales, and propose
that this be addressed by the legislature, along
with provisions to remove the artificial career
protection of non-productive employees.
2) A major step in permit streamlining has been
initiated through consolidation of wetlands,
stormwater and surface water management into a
single environmental resource permit issued by
either a WMD or the DEP; depending on the ac-
tivity permitted. This is a sound approach and will
work, provided the agencies stick to their own
tasks and don't watch over the permitting of other
agencies, as imay be the tendency today.
3) We take no issue with the ecosystem manage-
ment approach to wetlands, but are deeply con-
cerned about an irresponsible and ill-conceived
application to upland habitat. This is already evi-
dent in game commissioners listing the white ibis,
the state's most abundant wading bird, as a SSC,
and their recent recommendation that 4.65 million
acres of land not designated for conservation to be
so designated, providing for acquisition or regula-
tion. Should this be adopted, 33% of the state's
total area would be designated as conservation.
4) Phase-out of the DRI process and setting
constraints on the regional planning councils are
appropriate in view of the adoption of the compre-
hensive planning process. However, we are con-
cerned with the Department of Community Af-
fairs' efforts to draft rules upgrading intergovern-
mental coordination elements and rules establish-
ing uniform statewide standards for reviews of
impacts on natural communities, historical re-
sources, potable water, solid waste, hazardous
materials, transportation and affordable housing.
Not only could standards be set so high that
intergovernmental project reviews would be at
least as costly and complex as the DRI process, but
draft Rule 9J-2 on uniform statewide DRI stan-
dards is overly stringent, duplicates existing and


continuing regulatory programs and is unneeded
with the DRI phase-out planned by 1997.
5) Some 12-15 local governments have insti-
tuted their own environmental protection pro-
grams, providing inevitably for increased
duplication. We propose delegation of the permit-
ting process to local governments where the desire
and capacity exist to assume that responsibility on
an effective and efficient basis; but in accordance
with standards and definitions set by the state.
6) The information sufficiency stage of permit
reviews can be the most time-consuming part of
the process, and sometimes unreasonably applied
by agencies as a deterrent to approval. Process
delays add unnecessary expense, unpredictability
and frustration. The Legislature should set a limit
of two rounds of applicant information submittals;
establish an applicant's right to have his permit
processed, without prejudice, based on informa-
tion submitted in response to an agency's first
request for additional information; and set expe-
dited time limits for agency reviews.
7) The 1993 permit streamlining legislation
mandated rule-making that will result in a single
statewide definition of wetlands and a single
methodology for determining their extent. We
urge the enactment of legislation to establish a
single statewide mitigation standard, providing
the flexibility (and desirability) of using off-site
mitigation and regional mitigation banks.
8) "Pre-clearing" of lands for economic develop-
ment would be a vital step toward making Florida
more competitive in attracting new corporate fa-
cilities. A recent study found that the single most
important incentive for corporate relocation or
expansion is the availability of an efficient, "one-
step" permitting process. Counties interested in
economic development should undertake a pre-
clearing process, similar to an "areawide DRI," in
accordance with their comprehensive plans.
9) The Florida Game and Freshwater Fish
Commission in recent years has deviated consid-
erably from its traditional function, shifting to
environmental regulatory work at the expense of
game and fish protection. The broad regulatory
authority the commission exercises over endan-
gered and threatened species should be trans-
ferred to the DEP. The Marine Patrol and Marine
Fisheries Commission should be transferred from
DEP to the FGFWFC.
10) Florida law lets citizens and organizations
challenge agency permit and approval actions, but
does not adequately define "substantially affected
persons"-those entitled to such appeals. This has
been widely abused in recent years. While the
intent is appropriate, steps must be taken to en-
sure that challenges are based on legitimate con-
cerns of directly affected persons and groups.
Duplicative, uncomprehendible regulation dis-
courages responsible and desirable development.
It fails to provide a basis for environmental pro-
tection, enhancement and enforcement. We need
clear, concise, realistic regulations that can be un-
derstood and complied with by the economic side
of the equation, and fairly applied and enforced by
the environmental side.




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