back $140 million
water quality bill
By Victoria ChurchviUe
OF TE SUNTMEL SUFP
TALLAHASSEE Florida House
leaders are pushing a $140 million
landmark water quality bill to protect
the state's underground reservoirs of
drinking water from hazardous
wastes, pesticides and seeping
If passed, the Water Quality Assur-
ance Act of 1983 would make Florida
the pioneer in state water quality
The proposal is based on the recom-
mendations of a water issues task
force appointed last year by House
Speaker Lee Moffitt, a Tampa
"The circumstances in Florida in the
past year have made concerns about
water quality visible. It's hit home. It's
real. And it's frightening." said Jon
Mills, D-Gainesville, chairman of the
House Natural Resources Committee.
Though the Senate approach is more
austere, water quality control meas-
ures have the support of leaders in
both houses and Gov. Bob Graham.
"I can guarantee you some water
quality bill will pass," Mills said.
"There'll be disagreements but every-
one. will vote for clean water in the
end. How can you not?"
House leaders say they hope the leg-
islation will end the state's crisis
approach to coping with drinking wa-
ter contamination. They cite a series
of well contaminations that have
strained state environmental and
health resources since last summer.
a Belleview All 2,000 residents
in this Marion County town were told
to stop drinking tap water after state
environmental officials found that gas-
oline from leaky underground gas sta-
tion storage tanks had contaminated
the community's three drinking water
wells.. City-officials were left to cope
with the contamination because the
state Department of Environmental
Regulation had no funds to investigate
the source of pollution or to help with
Fairbanks The state is clean-
ing up the poisons in 36 private wells
in this Alachua County hamlet north
east of Gainesville because chemicals
from a Department of Transportation
dump site contaminated drinking
water. Later this month, consultants
will complete a study on the extent of
the water pollution. In the meantime,
DOT is providing bottled water to
Temik Since August, state
chemists have been finding traces of
this toxic pesticide in wells near citrus
groves where it was used. Early this
year, Department of Health and Reha-
bilitative Services scientists found
traces of Temik in four Central Flor-
ida drinking water wells. State Agri-
culture Commissioner Doyle Conner,
who regulates pesticides, slapped a
temporary ban on Temik and has pro-
posed banning it through the end of
the year. Conner said the longer ban
would give state scientists time to
study ways to prevent the pesticide
from contaminating wells, which it
has done in some Northern states.
This succession of water poisoning
scares has heightened awareness of
the need to protect Florida's two
aquifers, which provide 92 percent of
the state's drinking water.
"Everyone drinks water and every-
one's concerned about the Temiks, the
Belleviews, the Fairbanks," Mills said.
"The average Floridian is really the
ode who has the concerns. There's
enough public sensitivity that those of
us debating it can elevate it to action."
Democratic Sen. Pat Neal of Braden-
ton, who also is chairman of the
Appropriations Committee which
doles out funds to the state's environ-'
mental agencies said the House
approach is too costly.
But putting money behind the politi-
cal rhetoric is the key to translating
the words to action, Mills said.
"You've got to have the money to
clean up the sites, to drill the groundwater monitor-
ing wells and to respond to emergency situations,"
State environmental agencies are hamstrung by a
lack of funding, said Victoria Tschinkel, secretary of
the Department of Environmental Regulation. The
agencies only have about 2 percent of the state's to-
tal budget, she said.
"You can have landmark legislation but if it isn't
appropriated or staffed, it doesn't mean much," said
Ken Woodburn, the governor's natural resources
Both the House and Senate proposals would build
on federal money from the Superfund, a $1.6 billion
trust fund to clean up the nation's abandoned haz-
ardous waste sites. Under law, the federal govern-
ment gives states 59 for every 51 they put into
cleaning up designated Superfund sites. For the next
two years, both chambers propose raising $35 mil-
lion to begin cleanup of the state's 25 Superfund
In addition, the House also would tax pesticides
and chemicals and spend $5.3 million to give DER
the authority to restrict or prohibit pesticides that
threaten water supplies.
The Senate, poised to fight new taxes, is juggling
existing funds to underwrite a three-pronged, $86
million approach to hazardous waste siting and
cleanup, groundwater monitoring and sewer
Unlike the House plan, the Senate does not ad-
dress pesticide control or tax chemicals to pay for
cleaning up pollution..
The House has "taken a number of existing funds
and added some taxes to make the dollar amounts
larger. We're using existing funds," Neal said.
"Taxes are going up all over, and the Senate's go-
ing to try to be more conservative in fiscal
The Senate would use existing taxes on hazardous
waste generators and interest from the state's S3.5
million coastal protection trust fund, which Neal
says has not been tapped since 1975.
It also would allot the state's 11 regional planning
councils $1.1 million between 1984 and 1986 to help
counties deal with local hazardous waste problems.
The House proposal would levy a 5 percent tax on
wholesale chemicals and pesticides to raise up to
$13 million to help pay for a $59.8 million hazardous
waste and sewage treatment program.
House lawmakers also propose to speed up imple-
mentation of an existing 5 percent tax on hazardous
waste generators and make it easier to set up haz-
ardous waste transfer and incineration facilities in
Members of both chambers plan to build on feder-
al sewer grants to finance water quality.
Mills' committee proposes a five-year documen-
tary tax of 20 cents for every 5100 of assessed prop-
erty value to raise $50 million annually to match
federal funds for new state sewage treatment plants.
To further restrict sewage contamination of
ground water, the House proposes stringent limits
on the use of septic tanks in new developments -
allowing only one per acre where private wells are
used and two per acre in areas that use public water
A Senate bill calls for a flat $50 million to fund
sewage construction but does not identify the source
of the money, Neal said.
The House proposes to set aside an additional $10
million so that DER can shut down an estimated
25,000 abandoned wells in the state that tap directly
into aquifers. These unused artesian wells act as
conduits for pollution, allowing contaminates to
travel into the aquifers.
"We're probably doing more in the water quality
area than has been done in 10 years. There is a lot of
support in the Legislature but there are problems,
too," Mills said.
"We're going to have to persuade some people
that some things have to be done. That won't be
The Florida Home Builders Association, the lobby
group for 12,500 developers in the state, will fight
the septic tank restrictions "all the way" because
the water quality package will stop development,
said Steve Metz, chief counsel for the group.
waste water return to aquifer
There is nothing wrong, in theory,
with injecting water back down into the
limestone aquifers it came from if it
is of the same or better quality than the
water there. But bills, filed in both
houses of the Florida Legislature, seek
to prevent the city of Orlando from
reinjecting treated waste water back
into the aquifer.
The lawmakers say they don't want
to drink Orlando's effluent.
Orlando officials have promised the
returned water will meet all health
standards and some environmentalists
and conservationists have hailed the
project as a step forward that will help
maintain Florida's precious water sup-
So who's right? Is reinjection of
waste water a way to save Florida's
water? Are the legislators unreasonably
We think the legislators are right to
try and stop the project They should be
squeamish about the prospect of Orlan-
do's waste polluting the area's water
More important than increasing the
yield of the aquifers is protecting their
purity. Florida should not allow any
reinjection into drinking water aquifers
unless, at some future time, the state
should determine a need to protect the
aquifer from some long-lasting natural
Then the pumping of fresh water into
an aquifer to act as a barrier to an
undesirable flow could be justified as
protecting the resource. But in the case
of Orlando, where sewage disposal is
difficult, the water, conceivably, could
be used for agricultural irrigation.
There is no emergency that requires
water to be put into the ground in Orlan-
And if the water is drinkable, as pub-
lic works officials promise, it would be
more efficient to put it back directly in-
to that area's drinking-water supply.
By Bandolph Pendlete
Tlames-Ualem c.eId swr
TALILAHASSEE The Florida
Legislature, still a question mark be-
cause of reapportionment, opens a
1983 session tomorrow that GoV. Bob
Graham hopes will provide tax In-
creases to move the state toward
The legislature Is vastly changed
because of last year's reapportion-
ment, which shifted more power to
the southern half of the state and
brought in more blacks and women.
There are 44 freshman represents-
lives in the 120-member House and 1S
new senators in the 40-member Sen-
ate. Republican strength has been re-
duced, particularly in the Senate.
Whether these changes In makeup
will be reflected in the direction of
the Legislature will be tested over
the next two months.
Senate leaders, generally more
conservative tha n hose n the house,
are taking a no-tax-increase stance so
far, indicating Graham will have an
uphill battle In trying to raise the rev-
enue he wants for education.
Graham has proposed increases in
taxes on alcoholic beverages, ciga-
rettes and intangibles such as stocks
and bonds. But the most controversial
art of his tax package is a $1 per
1,00 valuation increase In the school
property tax, which would Increase
the taxes for the owner of a $50,000
home by $25 a year.
Senate President Curtis Peterson,
D-l.akeland, who helped Graham get
a transportation tax package passed
in a special session In March, says the
Senate is not ready to pass any more
taxes this year. 1
Legislature facing tough issues
Peterson is optimistic that im-
provement in the economy will raise year. is actively u amng so maS- Other Issues that will be del
revenue projections enough by May urea suc as the Water Quality Assur- during the session include:
that no tax increases will be neces- dance al O Whether to hike the drinkln
sary, but the governor's staff doubts Thewater ul ill tct- from 10 to 21.
this will occur. : lyllmltiU II use oseti tnDUclk m- 0 Wh.thur n,-iun u -.um ,
Graham is emphasizing improved
education as an economic develop-
ment tool that will help attract new
high-technology Industries to the
Graham told the Citizens Council
for Budget Research last week that
Florida recently lost a major busi-
ness prospect to North Carolina be-
cause that state's university system
was considered superior.
"We are not perceived as a state
that has a national standard of excel-
lence in educatUo" Graham said
Casting a large shadow over the
governors tax-increase plans, howev-
er, Is a proposed constitutional
amendment to roll back taxes that Is
scheduled to go on the ballot in 108I
Even some legislators who might
otherwise supported tax increases
are worried tht this would add impe-
tus to the tax-limitation drive.
Graham responds that the state
should do what is necessary to Im-
prove education and then take its
case to the people.
"If we spend the next two years
trembling, we're going to make a
very serious mistake," Graham said.
With the major budget decisions
likely to be postponed until late In the
season, the earry weeks are expected
to concentrate on Issues such as the
environment and medical malprac-
The House has begun looking into
the entire area of growth manage-
ment and, although much of its legis-
lation may not be ready until next
pole new axes on pesticides.
aa ra aes one of ba-
Doctors and lawyers are pitted
against each other n the consider-
ation of legislation backed by the
Florida Medical Association that
would limit attorney fees and pain
and suffering awards In medical mal-
There is also pending legislation
that would seek to reduce health-care
costs by giving the Hospital Cost Con-
tainment Board the power to approve
hospital budgets and rates and to or-
der refunds or rate reductions if It de-
termines that patients have been
The cost containment board cur-
rently has no enforcement power, al-
though It releases lists of compara-
tive hospital costs.
The banking industry is supporting
legislation to raise or remove the II
percent limit on the Interest rates.
The banks contend Interest rates are
set by national monetary conditions
and they could not afford to lend
money If Interest rates nationally
rose above 1I percent
erty on Big Ti;rlbot Island should be
subject to condemnation proceedings
by the state over the opposition of the
V Whether some of the exemp-
tions to the Sunshine Law and Public
Records law should be eliminated.
V Whether a Umlitatlon should be
placed on the number of prisoners in
te state and whether cheaper alter-
natives can be found to imprisonment
Whether a lottery should be con-
sidered as an alternative to tax In-
1983 Legislature confronts no shortage
By JOIINHARWOOD I
sl. P.o.em l ro ..T e SGlN Wteqil
TALLAHASSEE Someone once de-
scribed a state legislature as a great bazaar
where interest groups of all kinds shop for the
favors they want from government.
Florida's bazaar the 1983 Legislatura -
opens for business Tuesday.
There is no shortage of goods this year. Out
on the tabl e are pay raises for teachers, pro-
tection against malpractice suits for doctors,
unrestricted interest rates for bankers and
dozen of othqr things. The bartering system
known a the legislative process will determine
which groups get what they want.
The shopkeepers 120 members of the
House of Representatives and 40 members of
the Senate, all elected last November have
made their annual trek to Tallahassee, which
has obliged with colorful blossoms, brilliant
blue skies and soft breeze.. The legislators'
work and play is scheduled to last 60days, but
rarely is it completed on time.
Gov. Bob Graham has the longest shopping
list of all, and it appears certain he will not get
everything on it. Graham is asking the Legis-
lature to pass $524-million in new taxes, just
one month after lawmakers raised transpor-
tation taxeu about $200-million and one year
after they raised the sale tau $7O0-million.
THE GOVERNOR wants most of the
new tar money to lift the state's lackluster
public schools into the "upper quartile" (top
12 states) of the nation. The central element of
his education program is boosting teacher sal-
aries $4,000 over the next two years, with
slightly higher raises going to university and
community college faculty members.
There is consensus in Tallahassee that
something needs to be done about edtjation.
but not on exactly what should be donor how
much it should cost. House Speaker Lee
Moffitt and Senate President Curtis Peterson
have advanced education proposal of their
own. Mffitt's $53-million plan focuses on
improving math and science teaching. Peter-
son's $157-million RAISE (Raise Achievement
in Secondary Education) bill would toughen
academic standards and lengthen the school
BUT THERE are plenty of issues be-
sides education for legislators to wrangle over.
Among the most prominent are:
*6 Water. A study committee appointed
by Moffltt concluded that Florida's drinking
water supplies are in imminent danger. The House Natural
sources Committee has proposed a $130-million program
to strengthen the Department of Environmental Resources,
build sewage treatment plants and clean up areas con-
taminated by hazardous wastes. But the program faces
opposition frosh chemical companies, which would be taxed
to pay for it, and builders, who don' like proposed limits on
the use of septic tanks.
6' Prison overcrowding. Fldrids prisons are jam-
packed and growing more so. In two years, according to
apartment of Corrections projections, the state will be
housing 3,300 more inmates than current facilities are de-
Because it costs $48,000 per prisoner to build new cells,
legislators wkll consider proposals from Graham's Correc-
tions Overcrowding Task Force. The task force recom-
mended reducing mininpum sentences for certain crimes
and providing alternatives to jail time for nondangerouss"
convicts. These proposals are likely to be opposed by police
and prosecutors and considered warily by legislators
worried about appearing "soft" on crime.
Medical malpractice. Doctors complain that
the malpractice system is in "crisis," with greedy lawyers
too often dragging them into court, persuading sympathetic
juries to award "jumbo" verdicts and thereby increasing the
cost of malpractice insurance. The Florida Medical As-
sociation has proposed a seven-point program to ease the
situation. But trial lawyers say the real crisis is the number
of harmful mistakes doctors make. Senate leaders, most
significantly DIempsey Barron of Panama City, sympathize
with the doctors. House leaders don't.
w Interest rates. Bankers want to do away with
Florida's 18 percent usury cap on loan interest rates. When
interest rates generally are higher than 18 percent, bankers
say, the cap simply deprives people of loans by making it
unprofitable for banks to lend to them. But voting to allow
higher interest rates is politically risky, and legislators will
reluctant to do so.
-* Urtaking age. Rep. Fran Carlton of Orlando has
attracted substantial support for a bill to raise Florida's
legal drinking age from 19 to 21. She says the proposal
would reduce the number of traffic deaths caused by
drunken driving. Bar owners, worried about the business
they would lose from 19- and 20-year-olds, say it's unfair to
single out that age group and are fighting Carlton's pro-
& Government nl the sunshine. Florida's open
government laws were once the most far-reaching in the
nation, but they have been weakened over the years by
hundreds of exemptions. Committees in both the House
and Senate are evaluating the exemptions to see which ones
can be done away with. Their efforts are backed by the
Florida Press Association and Attorney General Jim Smith
but are opposed by those benefiting from the specific ex-
,' Lottery. Several legislators have proposed estab-
lishing a state lottery. Backers say a lottery would bring
$200-million or snore into state coffers each year. But a
lottery bill is unlikely to pass because of opposition from
Graham, Moffitt and Peterson.
A good defense
Florida's 1983 Legislature convenes Tues-
day in Tallahassee with hopes high for a suc-
cessful session. But a cloud hangs over the
state's public agenda for next year, and it is
time for Gov. Bob Graham and Florida's busi-
ness and political leaders to organize a defense
against its ugly threat.
First, the positive. The lawmakers who gath-
er Tuesday will be unusually well prepared to
deal with the state's most pressing problems.
This Legislature's first responsibility is to
back up the commitment of the state's leaders
to accomplish dramatic advances in public
education. Florida's widely proclaimed goal is
to become one of the Top 12 states in education-
al achievement by 1986. It'll take money to
accomplish that, which means taxes, and this is
the session when the Legislature must deliver.
GOOD SCHOOLS are a good investment.
According to the governor's office, the average
graduate pays back in taxes the cost of his high
school education in only six years. After that,
you might say the state makes a "profit" on
Interest in education is sparked by a rare
convergence in the state's leadership. It has
been many years since the governor's office, the
Speaker's office and the Senate presidency
were occupied at the same time by such strong
advocates of good schools. This is the time for
education to take a long step ahead.
The Legislature's second challenge is to pre-
pare for Florida's bustling and crowded future.
By the end of this decade, we're expected to be
the nation's fourth-largest state. The state can
either sit back and be overwhelmed as
L9-million new residents arrive, demanding
roads for their cars, water to drink, sewers and
incinerators for their wastes and schools for
their children. Or it can prepare, anticipate and
plan for those services in ways that do not de-
stroy Florida's natural beauty and that don't
force present residents to pay most of the high
costs of such growth.
This Legislature seems well prepared to
deal intelgenle roer
ie offitt appointed a tas force on water,
which received excellent leadership from
former legislator William Sadowski The task
force's recommendations on hazardous wastes,
septic tanks, underground storage tanks and
pesticides are a vital part of the session's
THE CLOUD on Florida's horizon, which
seems certain to affect this session and political
debate over the next 18 months, is an initiative
referendum to roll back all state and local gov-
ernment revenues to 1980-81 levels. This alien
import from California's tax revolt will be on
Florida's ballot in November of 1984. It will test
the political courage of this year's lawmakers to
do what is right for Florida's schools.
Gov. Graham probably is correct not to con-
duct an all-out legal fight to keep the proposi-
tion off the ballot. He sees the situation as an
opportunity to open a dialogue with Florida's
citizens about the state's future. That is an in-
tellectually attractive idea which appeals to our
fundamental optimism about the good sense of
Florida voters. But it also could be dangerous.
This decision will be made in the midst of a bit-
ter, partisan national election in which rational
dialogue may be overwhelmed by the "ire and
IF FLORIDA IS going to gamble its fu-
ture in this way, it should prepare well for the
encounter. A generously financed, soundly
organized and well led campaign is needed simi-
lar to the one that persuaded Florida voters to
defeat casino gambling in 1978.
Since business cannot prosper in a state
with inadequate schools and public services,
Florida's business leaders should play a large
role in this campaign. But the leadership ought
to come from Graham and other elected offi-
cials. As soon as this legislative session is well
started, Graham should begin to organize for
this effort. It is not too early.
The Legislature: No One Needs a Script
to Tell What's Ahead
House and Senate leaders today
released copies of the script to be
followed during the upcoming legisla-
tive session. The scenario calls for
lawmakers to spend the flrst 59 days
of the session recognizing visitors In
the gallery and passing meaningless
resolutions. Substantive Issues will be
addressed on the final day, forcing
secret meetings and numerous exten-
sions of the session. The leadership
finally will agree to various com-
promises which then will be rammed
down the throats of the rank-and-file
The script was written by Franz
Kafka, Woody Allen and Nikolo
Mock news item from the Capitol
Press Club's annual skits, In which
political reporters lampoon state
TALLAHASSEE All Joking
aside, IIt Is rather tempting to think of
the annual legislative(rites of spring
as Indeed being written in advance.
Because just as surely as the ses-
sion will be gaveled to order on Tues-
day morning, there will ultimately
follow, some two months later, at
least one and probably several exten-
sions or special sessions.
There always is.
And as surely as Gov. Bob Gra-
hamn will mount the louse podium to
deliver his annual "stale of the state"
address on the first day of Ihe set-
sion, the final session week will ar-
rive at the end of May to see virtually
all of the major substantive, budget-
ary and taxing Issues still unresolved.
It always does.
And just as surely as House and
Senate members will go into confer-
ence commlltees at session's end to
resolve all those major outstanding
Issues, the open conference meetings
that will follow will be little more
than show. The real settlements will
inevitably emerge from behind
closed doors, having been hammered
out by a handful of legislative power
They always are.
And just as surely as those leaders
will seek privacy In the final hours to
wheel and deal, the rank-and-file
members will pass their early days of
summer lounging Idly about cham-
bers, telling stories, Irritably glancing
at their watches, and waiting for
their leaders to emerge and tell them
how to vote.
They always do.
In other words, the predictable
nature of the process being what it Is,
if Kafka, Allen and Machiavelli didn't
write the script for it, they should
This year, as he has every year in
office, Gov. Graham Is finding more
sympathy for his more than $11 bil-
lion budget and his $500 million
worth of property, cigarette and II-
quor lax increases among the House's
progressive leadership than he will in
state Sen. Curtis Peterson's more
In fact, House Speaker Lee Mof-
fill, D-Tampa, Is probably more at-
tuned philosophically to Graham's
vision of a Florida that should be
than any House leader In more than a
decade. Like Graham Moffilt wants
to make major fiscal Investments in
grb WI~fliannlng and manement,
grUmaiWar preser vaion and social
servicesi- and he is willing to1 ote
out the lax increases necessary to
pay f6l'ial of that.
"".. "'e fact is that government in
Florida is about the best bargain In
the U.S.," Moffitt Insists. "We are the
seventh-largest state in the nation,
but we rank 461h In terms of state lax
revenues per capila."
Added Molfill, "If you want to talk
about citizen's choice, which seems to
be a popular theme these days, the
real citizen's choice Is between main-
taining the quality of life that we
have today In Florida, or letting IIt
Mofflll's reference is to the peti-
tion-driven amendment to the Flori-
da Constitution known as Citizen's
Choice. Unless the courts throw it out
on some technicality, voters will get a
chance in November of 1984 to arbi-
trarily roll back all state and local
taxes to their 1980 levels.
And no matter what that amend-
ment would do to government In
1985. The mere fact that II Is looming
has already frightened some lawmak-
ers to the point that Graham and
Moffltt may have little chance of
passing any new taxes at all over the
next two years.
Indeed, having already acqui-
esced lo Graham's special session,
$250 million gas and road tax pack-
Builders rap proposed Florida
TALL.AIIASSEE (AP) Florida
builders attacked a $70 million Iouse
water-protection tax package yester-
day as a radical plan that could crip-
ple construction and retard growth.
"We are strongly opposed," de-
clared lawyer-lobbyist Stephen Metz
of the Florida Home Builders Assod-
alton, referring to proposed new lim-
its on septic tanks.
And agri-business representatives
and chemical companies blasted a
new tax on chemicals and.pesticides
to clean up hazardous wastes.
"Why is It necessary to saddle the
pesticide agricultural community
with another pesticide witch hunt?."
Tom Carpenter, a vegetable growers
consultant, asked the House Natural
Resources Committee during a day-
Representatives of Exxon, Monsan-
to, Georgia-Pacific and other compa-
nies said the proposed tax would gen-
erate much more than needed and
would hurt Florida companies.
Committee Chairman Jon Mills, D-
Gainesville, acknowledged that it Is
uncertain how much the chemical tax
would produce, and that it might need
Environmentalists are supporting
the legislation, called the Water Qual-
ity Assurance Act of 1983, as a pru-
dent safeguard of water resources.
The controversial proposal is based
on recommendations from House
Speaker Lee Moffitt's water task
force that was led by former Rep. Bill
Highlights of the House package In-
W Stringent limits on use of septic
tanks In new developments. Only one
septic tank could be Installed per
acre In areas using private water
wells andml two per acre on sites with
w A new 5 percent wholesale tax
on chemicals and pesticides that
would produce up to $13 million a
year for hazardous waste cleanup.
v Higher taxes on disposal, treat-
ment and storage of hazardous
wastes. The state excise tax would In-
crease from 4 to 5 percent.
W Authorization for the state's De-
partment of Environmental Regula-
lon to limit or stop use of pesticides
that are considered dangerous.
W A proposed amendment to Flor-
ida's Constitution that would declare
water a public resource, rather than
a private property.
s' Creation of a five-year, $50 mil-
lion program to help local govern-
ments upgrade sewage treatment
The most hotly contested parts of
the House program deal with pro-
posed limits on septic tanks, In-,
creased enforcement power for the
state environmental agency and hi h-
er taxes, said Speaker Moffitt, )-
Agricultural Interests are opposed
to expanding the environmental agen-
cy's role in regulation of pesticides,
now a responsibility of the Depart-
ment of Agriculture.
Speaking for agri-business, Rep.
Fred Jones, D-Aubulrndale, suggested
,.that DER (Department of Environ-
mental Regulation) was not up to the
job of protecting the sta'- from pos-
sible dangers of toxic chemicals, such
On the septic-tank issue, the Flor-
ida Home Iluilders Association esti
i mated that the proposed restrictions
would cause a net construction loss of
60,000 residential units a year.
Critics of the hill also questioned
the relialdilly of data used to support
the septic-tank legislation.
"Other studies have shown," said
Dr. Harold F. Holland of the Univer-
sity of Florida, "that septic tank efflu-
ent from properly designed systems
does not have a significant Impact on
the degradation of ground water or of
the adjacent surface waters."
Bobby: Don't wreck beaches
The relatively unscathed beaches in the
Big Bend area are rare not only for Florida,
but also for the entire nation. This scarcity
has the developers drooling and using every
trick In the book.
One potentially effective alliance is the
New York Yankees' owner George Stein-
brenner, Bob Graham's former chief of
staff Garry Smith and Seminole coach Bob-
by Bowden. They're trying to do what even
John Stocks couldn't: tear up two of the
most beautiful and environmentally sensi-
tive parts of St. George Island.
With Steinbrenner's megabucks,
Smith's political connections and St. Bob-
by's enormous popularity and "good ole
boy" charm, who dares get in the way?
Maybe Gov. Bob "Save Our Coast" Gra-
ham will, but I doubt It. lie owes a lot to
Carry Smith, his campaign manager in
both gubernatorial elections.
Still, I can't help but recall Graham's
Inspiring words of Sept. 8, 1981: "Floridians
deserve to enjoy their beaches and we must
move now before the coastline is obstructed
by an impenetrable wall of construction."
That has a nice ring to it, governor, but
how has the trio been so effective in leaning
on state agencies? Why was the Apalachico-
la Bay Sanctuary manager recently forced
to resign from the Franklin County Plan-
I think the weak link in the alliance is
Coach Bobby, because he is basically a good
man who has just gotten out of his league.
Bobby, there are plenty of more honorable
ways to capitalize on the good will of the
people of the Big Bend area, like selling
Fords and hot dogs.
Don't let the high-rolling "hot dogs" use
you as a front man to wreck our barrier
agency's top echelon of adminis-
trators, Brown said he would pre-
fer to put his faith in officials who
live in Florida and are responsible
to the Legislature.
Mills said after the meeting that
a possible compromise would be
to give some agency or group,
such as the pesticide council, the
authority to restrict or ban the
use of a pesticide when it is first
Introduced to the state.,
"I prefer to see that agencies
with direct interest in public
health and groundwater quality
ought to have a role in the deci-
sion-making on first use of a
pesticide," Mills said.
argued that the publicity over the
pesticide Temik, which has been
found in some private wells in
Orange County, has scared the
public and the task force into
thinking there is a pesticide
Philip Parsons, an attorney who
told the committee he was ap-
pearing on behalf of the Florida.
Fruit and Vegetable Association,
said that less than 1 percent of
the wells regularly monitored by
the South Florida Water Manage-
ment District showed any appre-
ciable amount of pesticide
Parsons said only three wells
out of more than 800 showed
traces of Temik, but the amounts
were only half that deemed
acceptable for human tolerance.
Furthermore, he said, all three of
those wells were defective and
the Temik came from surface
water not water in the ground.
"At the end of the year we will
find out that Temik is not the
problem The Orlando Sentinel has
portrayed," Parsons said. He later
said one of his clients is Union
Carbide, which manufactures
Temik through one of its subsid-
iaries, but that he was not repre-
senting them at the meeting.
Chemical, retail and petroleum
industry representatives told the
committee that its tax proposal on
chemicals was so broad that virtu-
ally everything including water
- would be subject to the tax.
And they said the tax was far too
They urged that the restrictions
be limited to those chemicals con-
sidered a threat to the water sys-
tem and that the tax be levied on
a volume basis rather than basing
it on the wholesale price.
By Larry Lipman
SaNTINEL TALLAHASSE BUREAU
Interest groups ranging from agri-
business to chemical manufactur-
ers to home builders complained
Friday that an omnibus water
quality bill Is too restrictive and
But environmentalists and the
chairman of a task force on water
Issues appointed by House Speak-
er Lee Moffitt said tough meas-
ures need to be taken now to
protect the state's fragile water
"Groundwater protection Is thi
issue of the decade," said former
Rep. William Sadowski, chairman
of the task force. .;
SHouse Natural Resources Com-
mittee members heard six hours
of testimony on the 87-page bill
that combines the provislonb
spelled out earlier In a series of
proposed bills based on the task.
Among the bill's provisions are:.
Strict regulations limiting
the number of septic tanks
allowed In new developments to
two an acre depending on certain
conditions. Currently up to 16
septic tanks are allowed.
Authority for the Department
of Environmental Regulation to
restrict or ban the use of pesti-
cides In Florida. That authority
now rests with the commissioner
*I Expansion of the hazardous-
waste cleanup fund through a 6
percent tax on the wholesale val-
ue. of chemicals being imported,
s(qred or distributed within the
state. Estimates of how much
so'ch a tax would raise range from
$10 million to $750 million.
:Passage of the water quality bill
I :a high priority for Moffitt and
tle committee chairman, Rep. Jon
Mills, D-Galnesville. But lobbyists
fea affected special Interest
groups predicted a major fight In
t(o weeks when the committee
begins amending the bill.
::Mills said that merging the sep-
drgte water bills Into one omnibus
water protection bill would make
ItIlnore dimcult for legislators to
Vote against the entire measure
even If It coAtained provisions
:Steve Metz,1 lobbyist for the
'lorida Home Builders Associ-
ation, told the committee that the
development Industry strongly
opposed the bill's restrictive
septic tank proposals.
"The total effect of the pro-
posed legislation Is a net loss of
60,000 residential units per year
that could have been built on sep-
tic tanks," Metz said. "We simply
don't think the data and evidence
presented to this date Is sufficient
to take this drastic a step."
Among the task force's con-
cerns over the use of septic tanks
was the possibility that too high a
concentration of tanks could
allow untreated viruses to get Into
the water system.
But Harold Holland, a professor
of building construction at the
University of Florida, said studies
have shown that effluent from
properly designed and installed
septic tanks does not harm the
Holland said studies have
shown that septic tanks kill virtu-
ally all viruses that pass through
Rep. Tom Brown, D-l'ort
Orange, chairman of a Nautral
Resources subcommittee, said his
subcommittee had proposed that
up to four septic tanks per acre be
allowed, but the full committee
did not take action on !he
A sometimes healed exchange
between Brown and Rep. C. Fred
Jones, D-Auburndale, set the
stage publicly for what already
has been an Intense behind-the-
scenes struggle over regulation of
Jones, who chairs the House
Agriculture Committee, said the
bill's proposal giving the DER
authority to test and restrict the
use of pesticides was too costly
He urged Instead that the state
require that the pesticides under-
go federal Environmental Protec-
tion Agency tests paid for by the
manufacturers and conducted In
Jones said the existing Pesti-
cide Technical Council, which has
representatives from DER and the
Department of Health and Reha-
bilitative Services, was enough of
a safeguard to protect the public.
The council can recommend that
that the agriculture commissioner
restrict or ban a pesticide, but
cannot act On Its own.
But Brown said he was not sat-
isfied with relying on the EPA for
tests of pesticides in Florida.
Referring to the recent EPA con-
troversy that has forced out the
12B ST. PETERSBURG TIMES I SATURDAY, APRIL 2. 1983
Water protection tax draws businesses" fire
By KEN KLEIN
Associated Pem Wrlkr
TALLAHASSEE Florida builders Friday
attacked a $70-million House water-protection
tax package as a radical plan that could cripple
construction and retard growth.
"We are strongly opposed," declared
lawyer-lobbyist Stephen Metz of the Florida
Home Builders Association, referring to pro-
posed new limits on septic tanks.
And agri-business representatives and
chemical companies criticized a new tax on
chemicals and pesticides designed to clean up
"Why is it necessary to saddle the pesticide
agricultural community with another pesticide
witch hunt?" Tom Carpenter, a vegetable-
growers consultant, asked the House Natural
Resources Committee during a daylong hearing.
REPRESENTATIVES OF Exxon, Mon-
santo, Georgia-Pacific and other concerns said
the proposed tax would generate much more
than is needed and would hurt Florida compa-
Committee Chairman Jon Mills, D-
Gainesville, acknowledged that it is uncertain
how much the chemical tax would produce, and
that it might need reworking.
Environmentalists are supporting the legis-
lation, called the Water Quality Assurance Act
of 1983, as a prudent safeguard of water re-
Mills said the committee would vote on the
package "within the first 10 days" of the Legis-
lature's return April 6.
'The controversial proposal is based on rec-
dmmendations from House Speaker I.ee
Moffitt's water task force that was led by former
Representatives of Exxon,
and other firms said the
proposed chemical tax would
generate much more than is
needed and would hurt
Rep. Bill Sadowaki, D-Miami.
8ADOWSKI SAID Igislators have "a
special duty to act, and act now" because pro-
tection of groundwater is "the issue of the
Highlights of the Homuse package include:
V Stringent limits on use of septic tanks In
new developments. Only one septic tank could
be installed per acre in areas using private watef
wells and two per acre on sites with public watef.
6' A new 5. percent wholesale tax on
chemicals and pesticides that would produce up
to $13-million a year for hazardous waste
w Higher taxes on disposal, treatment and
storage of hazardous wastes. The state excise tax
would increase from 4 percent to 6 percent.
Authorization for the state's Department
of Environmental Regulation (DER) to limit or
stop use of pesticides that are considered dan-
DER also would be directed to plug an es-
timated 25,000 abandoned wells by 1989.
v A proposed amendment to Florida's
Constitution that would declare water a public
resource, rather than a private property.
Creation of a five-year, $50-million pro-
gram to help local governments upgrade sewage
The most hotly contested parts of the House
program deal with proposed limits on septic
tanks, increased enforcement power for DER
and higher taxes, says Speaker Moffitt, D-
Agricultural interests are opposed to ex-
panding DER's role in regulation of pesticides,
now a responsibility of the Department of Ag-
Speaking for agri-business, Rep. Fred Jones,
D-Auburndale, suggested that DER wasn't up
to the job of protecting the state from possible
dangers of toxic chemicals, such as Temik.
But Rep. Tom Brown, D-Port Orange, said
he would rather give DER the responsibility
than rely on the federal Environmental Protec-
tion Agency. "I don't think is state ought to
put its confidence In them." -.
MILLS SAID he would consider other
proposals, including splitting authority between
departments or delegating it to an appointed
On the septic-tank issue, the Florida Home
Builders Association estimated that the pro-
posed restrictions would cause a net construc-
tion loss of 60,000 residential unite a year.
The homebuilders' lawyer rapped the sep-
tic-tank plan as "very arbitrary" and "drastic."
Critics of the bill also questioned the re-
liability of data used to support the septic-tank
"Other studies have shown that septic tank
effluent from properly designed systems do not
have a significant impact on the degradation of
groundwater or of the adjacent surface waters,"
said Dr. Harold F. Holland of the University of
State water supply
must be protected
dangerous to public health
sometimes call for drastic so-
Such is the case with pro-
tection of Florida's vital
aquifers which supply the
state's domestic water. Some,
perhaps many, are threat-
ened with contamination by
seepage from hazardous-
waste disposal sites and im-
properly installed and oper-
ated small sewerage plants
and septic tanks.
But too little is known
about either location or po-
of too many disposal pits and
sewage disposal areas.
Some problems could be
massive. Some areas even
may not be threatened. But
the potential for trouble is
real, and problems must be
To find answers to a wide
range of contamination prob-
lems and to determine cor-
rective action, Florida House
Speaker H. Lee Moffitt about
a year ago appointed a Task
Force on Water. The Task
Force's report is completed,
and eight pieces of suggest-
ed, corrective legislation will
be introduced in the House.
Basically, problems arise
from improper disposal of
hazardous waste, accumulat-
ed over the years and contin-
ually added to today by
dumping either illegally or
legally because of insuffi-
ciently-stringent state laws
and pollution by small
sewerage systems and septic
tanks which are legally but
As a result of the study, the
legislation calls for an
amendment to the state's
constitution to the effect that
"waters of the state are a
public resource and shall be
managed as a public trust for
the use and benefit of all citi.
zens and for the maintenance
of natural ecosystems."
This is important. The
amendment would put the
full force of the constitution
behind the other seven wa-
The other seven House
bills would give the state's
Department of Environmen-
tal Regulation (DER) in-
creased power to find and
regulate dumping and en-
hance water conservation. An
Emergency Trust Fund, fi-
nanced by levies against
companies which produce
contaminants, would be ad-
ministered by DER. DER
would be empowered to
financially and technically
aid construction of adequate
sewerage systems for small
cities. Installation of small
sewer systems and septic
tanks would be more closely
The Task Force has done a
commendable job. All of
these areas need to be ad-
dressed, as promptly as pos-
Similar legislation will be
introduced in the Senate. But
it is less detailed and an
unacceptable tax-increase on
documentary stamps might
The House legislation is as
all-inclusive as possible, and
preferable to the Senate's.
In any event, prompt, ap-
propriate action must be tak-
en, lest Floridians may, in the
near future, be drinking bot-
tied water imported from the
mountains of Tennessee.
Phosphate braces for PIK
By GARTH GERMOND
Tribune Business Writer
LAKELAND The Florida Phosphate Council hasn't
calculated how hard federal crop-reduction programs
will hit the already-depressed phosphate industry, but "it
will be substantial," Tim Clarke, executive vice presi-
dent said Tuesday.
"We don't expect 1983 to be any better than 1982," he
In Washington, Gary D. Myers, president of The Fer-
tilizer Institute, said the programs may bring record per-
acre fertilizer applications to land not signed up in the
U.S. Department of Agriculture payment-in-kind and
other acreage rollback efforts.
Like the Phosphate Council, the institute is an indus-
Federal officials have said that unexpectedly-high
enrollments in the acreage-reduction efforts will idle
nearly 36 percent of the 230.4 million acres customarily
planted in wheat corn, cotton, rice, oats and barley.
Historic phosphate industry calculations say that 82
percent of phosphate production goes into fertilizer.
Corn. wheat, oats and barley account for more than
three-fourths of that fertilizer consumption.
Depressed farm income, particularly among wheat
and feed grain producers, has been among factors
blamed for slow sales of phosphate rock and fertilizer
products and big layoffs.
Ij&Pi-S I .
Currently, nearly 3.400 phosphate industry employ-
ees have been idled from their mine and plant jobs.
about 23 percent of the industry's 14,600-person normal
work force, according to Florida Phosphate Council
Myers said the high fertilizer application rates on ac-
tive acreage will be prompted by an outlook for im-
proved commodity prices.
"Farmers will pull out all stops to assure highest pos-
sible returns from every crop acre not committed to the
government's acreage reduction effort," he said.
Some land enrolled in acreage-reduction programs
other than payment-in-kind could be pulled out at farm-
ers' options and planted to the maximum, Myers said.
But, he said, total fertilizer consumption probably
will drop from levels of a year ago.
"There is no doubt that the industry will suffer de
Creased sales." he said. "Many, especially retailers in
farm areas heavily contracted to the PIK program, will
face economic hardship this year."
He said the industry view is that the current oversup-
ply of major farm commodities and resultant farm de-
pression must be dealt with quickly in order to to provide
relief for the nation's farmers.
"However, with such a large purgative does of acre-
age reduction in 1983, it is out belief that a second year's
prescription of PIK medicine will not be necessary and
likely could not be tolerate d by many agricultural suppli-
New York Times graphic
Pinellas challenges borrow pit permit
By KAREN WOLFSON
Tribune Staff Writer
In a motion filed Tuesday in Hlllsbor-
ough Circuit Court, Pinellas County offi-
cials questioned the propriety of the
Hillsborough County Commission's deci-
sion granting a borrow pit permit to
James F. "Bobby" Martin.
Pinellas officials want to include in
their civil lawsuit against Hillsborough
County charges that the borrow pit per-
mit "may have been issued as a result of
fraud. bribery and other wrongdoing,"
according to the motion.
The motion indicates a possible role
in the alleged improprieties of thehree
suspended Hillsborough County commis-
sioners: Jerry Bowmer, Fred Anderson
and Joe Kotvas.
The three were arrested on federal
extortion charges Feb. 1 in connection
with a rezoning case. They were subse-
quently suspended by Gov. Bob Graham
and three new commissioners were ap-
Michael Keane. an attorney repre-
senting Pinellas County, said more spe-
cific allegations would be filed with the
Sworn statements taken in the civil
iuit have raised questions about Martin's
connection with the commissioners.
"We had hoped to avoid this," Keane
said in an obvious reference to Pinellas
County's unsuccessful attempt last week
to have the Hillsborough commission
reconsider the permit application.
The court request immediately drew
an angry response from Martin's attor-
ney William Garcia.
Garcia contended that Pinellas
County could not base its complaint on
criminal conduct that only "may have"
"That's subject to a motion to dis-
miss, just like that," he said snapping his
Pinellas County has'filed suit over
the borrow pit in both Hillsborough and
Pinellas circuit courts. The Hillsborough
County suit challenges the legality of the
Hillsborough commission's decision to
reconsider Martin's permit application
after it was originally denied.
The other suit asks the court to halt
Martin from any further excavation at
the pit, which is located adjacent to Pi-
nellas County's Eldridge-Wilde Well
THE LEDGER Thursday, March 17. 1983
LAKELAND, FLORIDA SINCE 1924
Lynn 0. Matthews. Publisher
Louis Mkchoel Perez, Executive Editor
Mark Mathes, Managing Editor
Dove Schultz, Editorial Page Editor
James uller, Production Director
Jim Johnson, Circulation Director
. Walter Oarrs, Controller
Don Whitworth, Aavertising Director
I A '.i. -. *4E5 Z.MPANV
The cost of cleaning up
When Jon Mills talks about hazardous
wastes. it's in cataclysmic terms.
"As a potential danger to health and welfare,
hazardous waste and pesticides are generally
considered second to nuclear war," says Mills.
The small dumper is one of the most dangerous
people in our society."
Mills is a state representative from Gaines-
ville. More to the point, he is chairman of the
House Natural Resources Committee. and he's
determined to do something to protect Florida's
groundwater from contamination caused by those
most dangerous people" and others.
Mills' determination is shared by House
Speaker Lee Moffitt. D-Tampa. They held a press
conference this week to announce they will push
eight bills to safeguard groundwater. The bills
were recommended by a special task force head-
ed by former Rep. William Sadowski. D-Miami.
Sadowski says Florida hasn't been willing to
address the hazardous waste-pesticide problem
because of the potential costs of cleaning up.
Legislators instead have been preoccupied with
such traditional concerns as education, crime and
They don't have that luxury any longer. "It is
our strong feeling that you have to increase that
pile of top priorities by one groundwater pro-
tection." says Sadowski. If no action is taken
now. he adds. -We will be looking back 10 years
from now with regrets, with our children having
regrets. the public health having suffered and the
ability of this state to sustain people being se-
Naturally, the cost of cleaning up the mess is
much greater than the cost of making it. Mills.
M.loffit and Sadowski are proposing a $70 mil-
lion-a-year program. financed principally by an
increase of 20 cents per $100 on documentary
stamp surtaxes. That tax is levied when property
is sold. Also proposed is a 5 percent tax on :he
wholesale value of all chemicals and pesticides
entering the state. That money would be used to
expand the state's Hazardous Waste Trust Fund.
which is the state's equivalent of the U. S. E.-.:-
ronmental Protection Agency's "Superfund." An
increase in the excise tax on the disposal. treat-
ment and storage of hazardous wastes also is
Putting the tax burden primarily on those
who benefit from land development or who gen-
erate the hazardous wastes is an appealing fea-
ture of the House plan. It is much fairer to raise
the money that way than to take it from rank-
One facet of the program that is sure to be
controversial would give the Department of
Environmental Regulation the state counter-
part of the EPA jurisdiction over pesticides
for the first time. The recent Temik scare dem-
onstrated that pesticide regulation by the Agri-
culture Department is inadequate to protect the
public's interest. The plan would give the DER
authority to limit and prohibit pesticides deemed
potential contaminants and more authority to
monitor water quality.
No less necessary is a proposed five-year
program to help local governments improve their
sewage treatment systems. This is especially
urgent because of Reagan administration cut-
backs in EPA grant programs. The package also
would double maximum fines for the illegal
dumpers that Mills finds so dangerous.
With recent developments confirming fears
that the EPA has fallen into the hands of the
polluters, it is essential that Florida take all
steps necessary to safeguard its own groundwa-
ter supply. The drinking water of 92 percent of
Florida residents comes from that supply, and
significant contamination would be every bit as
calamitous as Mills and Sadowski contend.
THE LEDGER'Sundoy, March 20. 1983
Hazardous waste bill has
phosphate industry edgy
By Jim Talley
TALLAHASSEE A proposed
committee bill intended to help fund
the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in
the state as well as set up an emergen-
cy fund for future disasters would
impose a 5 percent wholesale tax on
chemicals brought into Florida.
But the bill's drafters agree that just
what constitutes a chemical is vaguely
defined and that they have few clues
concerning just how much of which
chemicals enter the state where. They
also say because it's only a proposal its
language could be broadened to include
chemicals made within the state as
All this has the phosphate industry
worried, because it brings in large
amounts of sulfur. ammonia and other
chemicals every year for use in making
fertilizer products. The industry
brought in about 4 million tons of sulfur
in 1981. and about 3.5 million tons last
year the tax on sulfur alone could
cost $20 million annually, said Bob
Hugli with the Florida Phosphate Coun-
cil in Tallahassee.
In addition, sulfuric acid a vital
part of fertilizer production created on-
site could be subject to the tax as
well. "We know it'll affect us. but we
don't know how much." said Bob Bon-
rell at the Florida Phosphate Council in
Lakeland. He added the council has
never kept figures on the amount of
acid used in member companies' pro-
duction process. but because of the
proposed bill it initiated a survey this
week. The results could be known by
Other Florida industries principal-
ly agriculture would be significantly
affected as well
The bill amounts to a recommenda-
tion from the state Water Task Force
and was put together through a joint
effort of the state Committee for Regu-
latory Reform and the House Natural
Resource Committee. Currently. there's
a $400.000 balance in the state's hazard-
ous waste trust fund. and that "would
only be enough to clean up one site."
said House Speaker Lee Moffitt. a back-
er of the proposal.
The measure could generate about
513 million in revenue, and a day-long
committee meeting on it is scheduled
for April 1 in Tallahassee.
Meanwhile. Reps. Bill Sadowski. D-
Miami. task force chairman, and Jon
Mills. D-Gainesville. chairman of the
Natural Resources Committee. are
meeting with newspaper editors across
the state in an effort to sell the propos-*
Fred Breeze. the CRR's rules and
calendar staff director, helped draft the
proposed legislation. "The intent was to
try to capture any and all of those
chemicals that might wind up as a po-
tential contaminant of groundwater." he
said. "But when we tried to decide what
we should include, it got very compli-
cated and we just kind of gave up on
"Chemical" is defined so far as
'any substAnce. synthetic or natural.
organic or inorganic, including but not
limited to an acid. alkali, or salt ob-
tained by a chemical process. prepared
for use in manufacturing, or used for
producing a chemical effort."
Still. Breeze added. "it's quite clear
sulfuric acid is included in the definition
of a chemical."
But it wasn't so clear to Larry Green.
a tax analyst with the Finance and Tax
Committee who had to draft the defini-
tions of what would be taxable.
Green said chemistry professors at
the University of Florida told him that
"all minerals are chemicals but not all
chemicals are minerals ... How do you
define something and really focus on
what you want?"
He added the bill is intended to tax
such things as petrochemicals. pesti-
cides and strong industrial cleaning
agents. "What we didn't want the bill to
do is tax minerals like sulfur. potash
and fertilizer." he said. -If I can't seem
to get the definition really clear. I'll go
with an exemption (clause)."
The 5 percent rate. however. "is a
good firm rate." Green said. "because 4
percent would've generated too little
and 6 percent too much."
None of this comforts the Phosphate
Council's Hugli. who calls the proposal
a -catch-all bill" that "caught a lot of
people by surprise." Asked how soon it
theoretically could be enacted into law
he said "if the Speaker wants it. it could
be the first day of the session."
'Ihle i'ik-tu 1i. 110 ii.. .111.. i, *Jl~ksAeiivjlle, Weth.-a.ithy.i M~archi 16, l'1963
Panel backs new taxes
to protect groundwater
TAI.I.AlIASSIEl (Al') A special Iouse mlael yesler-
day recomllendeile a $70 million-a-year legislative pic:lk-
ago to protect groundwater Florida's main drinking-
waler source from hazardous waste and other threats.
Two new statewide taxes are included: A 5 percent
wholesale-level tax on chemicals and pesticides would
raise up to $13 million for hazardous-waste cleanup, and
home buyers and other borrowers would pay a
documentary-stamp surcharge ol 20-cents-per-$100 value
to raise $50 million a year for new sewage treatment
Former Rep. Bill Sadowski. chairman of the Speaker's
Task Force on Water, said traditional spending priorities
have been education, law enforcement and social ser-
"It is our strong feeling that you have to increase that
pile of lop priorities by one groundwater protectloln,"
the Miami lawyer said.
If action is not taken, Sadowski added, "we will be look-
ing hack 10 years from now with regrels and our children
h;avu.g regrets and public health impaired."
IDuring a press coMlerence with Sadowski and Ilouse
Natural resources Chairman Jon Mills, D Gair.eville,
siwaker Lee Moffitt, I)-'lTinpa, unveiled eight bills de-
si)gin.l to implement 14 task force recommendations
About 92 percent of Florida's drinking water comes
from groundwater. That source is under threat trom
toxic-chemical spills, pesticides, overdevelopment,
drought, inadequate sewage treatment, saltwater intru-
sion and pollutants from landfills and septic tanks.
IThe package includes a $5.3 million bill to strengthen
lthe Department of Environmental Regulation's authority
i; nimotor and protect both surface and groundwater, in-
cluding the ability to ban or limit pesticide use.
aent of Agriculture, however, hias
temporarily suspended its use.
The chemical-pesticide tax would
be used to help pay for a 590.8 million
hazardous-waste and sewage-
That bill includes $3 million to give
the regulations department a "first-
strike' capability to deal with such
emergencies as leaking fuel-storage
tanks and broken sewer lines.
The documentary-tax surcharge is
another part of this bill. The sur-
charge would be added for only five
years and used for $50 million in
sewage-treatment grants to local
governments, with 120 million ear-
marked for communities of 10,000
people dr less.
Another bill would let the stale's
five water-management districts
spend 15 million a year to start plug-
ing 2.5000 wells across the stale.
,These wells threaten to mix polluted
and unpolluted levels of groundwater
In connection with this bill, a pio-
posed constitutional amendment
would increase the cap on property
taxes that can be levied by the North-
west Florida Water Management Dis-
trict to the level of the four other dis
'h 1 |ag'eaI y now cannot .olop use of Ihe ie.t:,l:icle Temlik
:alilthuilI it has begun cropping up in wells. The I)Ilarl- 'lhe Northwesl dlislrni now can le
vy I- cenils for every (1,000 in laxaile
property value compared will 37.5
cents in the other districts.
Another key part of the package is
a bill that would speed up the imple-
mentation of a a percent tax on
hazardous-waste generators and
make It easier to find places for
hazardous-waste transfer and Incin-
Mills said the state now does not
have any approved hazardous-waste
disposal sites andt that Florida's geol-
ogy is too fragile to allow burying.
Moffitt said the citing of transfer
operations where such wastes can be
stored would be a stopgap measure
until wastes can be slipped out of
Florida or in-state incinerators can
A second proposed constitutional
amendment would declare all stale
waters a public resource to be used
for the benefit of all citizens and to
maintain the natural ecology.
One element of plans to beef up the
regulations department would be a
Iro:ramn to educate hie public about
hrazrdous wastes. Mils said big
waste producers have been klentified
and are less a problem than small un-
known polluters, those who toss out
dangerous chemicals a bottle or two
at a time.
"The small dumper ... Is one of
II : ii e dangerous citizens in our so
iiey." Millll said.
House leaders to push
By Larry Lipman
SENT1Ne. TALLM4AnSE SURAU
TALLAHASSEE House leaders on Tuesday
proposed a $70 million-a-year program to protect
Florida's fragile water supply, including new regula-
tory powers and expansion of the state's hazardous
waste cleanup fund.
The program, contained In eight bills, stems from
work by a citizen task force appointed by House
Speaker Lee Moffitt and chaired by former Rep. WIl.
liam Sadowski of Miami.
Sadowski said the state must add the issue of wa-
ter to its top legislative priorities, which in the past
have included education, social services and crimi-
If no action is taken, Sadowski said, "we will be
looking back 10 years from now with regrets, with
our children having regrets, the public health having
suffered and the ability of this state and its water to
sustain people being severely impaired."
Rep. Jon Mills, D-Gainesvflle, chairman of the
Natural Resources Committee that introduced most
of the bills, said his committee will hold public hear-
ings on them at the Capitol on April 1. The Legisla.
tre opens its 60-day session on April 5.
.About 92 percent of Florida's drinking water
comes from underground. Water can be contaminat-
ed by a variety of causes, including toxic chemical
spills, pesticides, overdevelopment, drought, inad-'
equate sewage treatment, saltwater intrusion and
pollutants from landfills and septic tanks.
The proposed legislative program would:
Create a five-year, $50 million-a-year program
to help city and county governments upgrade their
sewage treatment systems. Local governments
would be required to match the state grants by pay-
ing up to 45 percent of the project cost.
The program, proposed while federal grants for
sewage treatment are declining, would be financed
State to begin cleaning up toxic dump sl.e: B-3
by a 20-cent increase in the current 45-cents-per-
S100 documentary stamp tax on deeds. Some 520
million would be earmarked annually to assist mu-
nicipalities with populations under 10,000.
Give the Department of Environmental Regula-
tion authority to limit or prohibit the use of pesti-
cides considered to be potential contaminants of sur-
face and groundwater supplies. Now only the com-
missioner of agriculture has that power.
In addition, the DER would have expanded au-
thori' to monitor surface and groundwater quality
and :o establish programs to prevent n- ...,,-
drirnking water contamination.
The added responsibilities are expect-
ed to cost about S5.3 million a year.
a Create a 53 million-a-year emergen-
cy fund to deal quickly with pollution in-
cidents that threaten groundwater, such
as a sewer system breakdown.
S Raise $10 million to 513 million a
year to expand the state's Hazardous
Waste Trust Fund by imposing a 5 per-
cent tax on the wholesale value of all
chemicals and pesticides entering the
state. The state fund is now less than
The state already has identified over
200 hazardous waste sites, including 25
that qualify for assistance from the 51.6
billion federal "Superfund." State offi-
cials estimate that cleaning up all known
hazardous waste sites in Florida would
cost 51.5 billion. The new program is ex-
pected to spend 53.1 million the first
year and 54.8 million the second.
Increase from 4 percent to 5 percent
the excise tax on the disposal, treatment
or storage of hazardous wastes. The in-
crease would raise about $2.1 million a
year make it easier to find places for haz-
ardous waste transfer and incinerator
Moffitt, D-Tampa, said transfer facill-
:ies for waste storage would be a stop-
gap measure until wastes "could be
shipped out of Florida or in-state inciner-
ators could be built.
Direct the DER to inventory and
plug an estimated 25,000 abandoned
free-flowing wells by 1989. Such wells
threaten to mix polluted and unpolluted
levels of ground water. The program is
estimated to cost 55 million a year.
Impose stringent restrictions on use
of septic tanks in new developments. The
proposal would limit tank installation to
one or, in some cases, two per acre. Up
to 16 tanks an acre are allowed now.
The restrictions would apply to all de-
velopments, including those already plat-
ted, but the Department of Health and
Rehabilitative Services would be allowed
to grant exceptions if the public health
would not be endangered.
Propose a state constitutional
amendment declaring water a public re-
source, rather than private property.
Propose another constitutional
amendment to increase the property tax
cap for the Northwest Florida Water
Management District to the same level as
in the other four water districts.
The change would let the district raise
up to $3.7 million next year, compared
with current taxes of SS65,000.
Moffitt said he would ask the task
force to continue its work and expanded
its scope to include recommendations on
jurisdiction over water and the relation-
ship of water to growth policies.
to clean up
* Lsgisltors wres e wih Guhen
tax package 2-8.
By ROBERT BARNES
St. Pewersqe Time Sutf Wrow
House Speaker Lee Moffitt en-
dorsed a batch of new taxes Tuesday
designed to help pay for a $70-million
program to protect the state's drinking
water supply and clean up hazardous
The Democrat from Tampa wants
to tax chemicals and pesticides and
nearly double the state's tax on some
legal documents. The money would
pay for environmental programs
ranging from monitoring the state's
underground water supply to building
sewage treatment plants.
Moffitt announced the plans at a
press conference along with Jon Mills,
D-Gainesville, the House Natural Re-
sources Committee chairman, and
former Rep. Bill Sadowski, Moffitt's
special adviser on water issues and
chairman of the water task force. Then
they set out to sell their plans to
newspaper editorial writers around
MOFFITT supported almost all
of the recommendations of Sadowski's
committee, and made it clear that wa-
ter quality issues will be one of his
priorities in the legislative session that
begins April 5.
Mixed with the tax proposals are a
number of significant policy changes,
such as giving the state more control in
finding places for hazardous waste
Mills conceded that legislators
have talked about water for years, with
little action. But he said he thought
this year would be different.
"Before, people would turn on the
tap and the water would be fine," Mills
said. "But we've seen instances where
that's not true anymore. It's no longer
a hypothetical issue."
Among the proposed new taxes are.
P A 5 percent wholesale tax on
chemicals and pesticides. It is es-
timated that would raise $13-million,
which would be used for hazardous
waste cleanup. Florida has more than
Another part of the tax
package endorsed by
House leaders would
nearly double the
stamp tax paid on
property deeds. The
increase would raise
the cost of buying a
$60,000 house by
200 uncontrolled hazardous waste
sites, including 25 on the list of the
nation's 418 wort.
SAn increase in the documentary
stamp tax by 20 cents per $100 value.
Documentary taxes are paid on most
legal documents, including property
deeds. The increase would raise the
tax to 65 cents per $100, and would in-
crease the cost of buying a $60,000
house by $120.
The surcharge, planned to last five
years, would provide $50-million each
year to help build sewage treatment
plants. Residential, industrial and
commercial construction in some puts
of the state already has been slowed
because of inadequate sewage treat-
ment plants, and there are estimates
that $1.3-billion in construction is
needed by 1986.
The plan would set aside
S20-million each year for communities
with fewer than 10,000 people..
W A hike from 3 percent to 5 per-
cent on the tax that producers must
pay on disposal of their hazardous
waste. This tax, approved several
years ago to help pay for cleaning up
hazardous waste sites, has been less
than successful so far.
The Department of Revenue says
it costs $75,000 to administer the tax
- about 550,000 more than it brings
in. But Mills said the bill will allow the
Department of Environmental Regu-
nation (DER) to close some of exemptions
that keep many companies from having to pay
THE PROPOSED bills would also spend
$5-million each year to plug so-called 'wild
wells," abandoned wells that are allowing con-
taminated water to mix with fresh underground
water. There are about 25.000 of these around
the state, most of them in South Florida.
There is also money to allow (DER) to set up
an extensive system to monitor the state's
ground water pollution. About 92 percent of the
state gets its drinking water from underground
And there is $6-million over the next two
years envisioned as an emergency fund for DER
to use to clean up things such as leaks from un-
derground storage tanks.
But stuck among all the tax proposals are
some important policy changes.
The bills would allow companies wanting to
build a hazardous waste disposal or transfer
plant to appeal a negative zoning decision from
local government to a new State Hazardous
Waste Management Commission. If that com-
mission approves the plans, the governor and
Cabinet would have the final decision on
whether the plant should be built.
THERE ARE NO disposal facilities in
Florida, and the companies that build such
plants say they don't come to the state because
they can't get local county commissioners to
approve their plans. The bill prohibits the use or
landfills as hazardous waste disposal sites.
The proposed legislation also would give the
DER the right to ban pesticides tha the agency
thinks can contaminate the state's ground wa-
ter. Now, only the Depar, ment of Agriculture
has the power to ban pesticides, but it does not
test the ground water.
Recently, Agriculture Commissioner Doyle
Conner refused to stop the use of the pesticide
Temik until it was discovered in drinking water
wells. Since then, he has extended a ban until
the end of the year.
A constitutional amendment proposed by
the task force would make water a "public re-
source" and require that it "be managed as a
public trust for the use and benefit of all citizens
and for the maintenance of natural ecosystems."
Mills said the amendment was added at the
request of the task force because members
thought water deserved constitutional protec-
tion. Mills said the amendment was not an
attempt to take water away from the jurisdic-
tion of local and regional governments.
cides into the groundwater. "They aren't oriented to
groundwater that is so different in one part of the coun-
There have been widespread recent reports of pesti-
cides infiltrating Florida's groundwater.
The increase proposed in the documentary stamp tax
is from 45 cents to 65 cents per hundred dollars of prop-
erty. It is estimated that his will raise some 550 million.
The stamp tax is collected when property is sold.
The measures also would increase the excise tax on
hazardous waste producers from 4 percent to 5 percent.
This tax is paid'on the price of disposing, storing and
treating hazardous wastes. The bill designates that this
money be directly given to the county government
The county is then required to assess the extent of the
hazardous waste problem. to develop rules for hazardous
waste generators. and to investigate pesticide misuse and
problems associated with underground storage tanks.,
Under the proposed bill counties would be allowed to
spend the money "on any other related solid waste issue
of local significance."
One of the most controversial provisions will be the
one putting a 5 percent tax on chemical sales. Kissim-
mee's Rep. Irlo Bronson has already gone on record op-
posing the tax, saying it will "place an unfair financial
burden on farmers."
Mills' committee staff says the revenue from the tax
is needed to match federal money in hazardous waste
Moffitt said that improving water quality had been
placed near the top of his legislative list He appointed a
task force and most of the new proposals came as recom-
mendations from that committee.
"As a potential danger to health and welfare, hazard-
ous waste and pesticides are generally considered sec-
ond only to nuclear war," said Mills.
"The small dumper is one of the most dangerous peo-
ple in our society," he said.
The bill would increase maximum penalties on illegal
dumping from $25,000 to S50,000 for a first violation.
Legislators unveil 'clean water' bills
By KIM I. EISLER
Tribune Staff Writer
TAI.I.AIIASSEE The House leadership Tuesday
unveiled a sweeping package of "clean water" bills that
would increase documentary stamp taxes, raise taxes
iand ienlalties on producers of hazardous wastes and put
a new 5 percent levy on the wholesale price of all cheml-
cails dislribuled in Florida.
'helse new and increased taxes and penalties would
finance a $130 million program designed to improve and
preserve water quality in the state, according to the bills'
backers. House Speaker Lee Moffilt. D-Tampa, and Rep.
Jun Mills, D-Gainesville, chairman of the House Natural
Among the steps being proposed:
Authorize the Department of Environmental Regu-
lalion to lest every pesticide used in the state for its im-
pact on groundwater. Currently the Department of Agri-
crllturt has exclusive power over pesticide use and indi-
calldns are that the agriculture interests will fight to
keep it that way.
The package, which proposes a
new levy on the price of all
chemicals distributed in Florida,
would expand the powers of the
Require that DER set up a groundwater Informa-
tion center that would annually publish a directory of all
groundwater information in lite state.
Give the DER authority to coordinate the plugging
of all abandoned artesian wells in the state and draft
rules to regulate gas storage tanks.
Establish a Local Government Hazardous Waste
Assistance Center to assist counties in preparing plans to
ensure proper disposal of wastes.
Establish the Small Community Sewer Construc-
lion Trust Fund to assist towns with fewer than 10,000
people with sewer facilities.
Revise the rules and regulations concerning septic
tanks to require that tanks be located more than 100 feet
from potable wells, 500 feet from public wells and 100
feet from surface water. These sections would increase
septic lank permit fees by $3 to fund research into the
impact of septic tanks on Florida.
The whole package is sure to be controversial with
farming interests guaranteed to oppose the expansion of
powers to the DER.
Pesticide control has long been the domain of Agri-
culture Commissioner Doyle Conner.
A Conner aide denounced the measure saying the
federal Environmental Protection Agency already tests
pesticides before they are allowed on the market.
To give the state DER power to do the same would be
redundant and costly, said Pete Packell, a spokesman
for the Department of Agriculture.
However, DER Secretary Vicki Tschinkel said EPA
officials do very little work on the percolation of pesll-
State keeps ban on Temik use
- next move is up to Conner
By Victoria Churchville
OF THE SENTINEL STAFF
TALLAHASSEE A state ban
on the pesticide Temik will con-
tinue through mid-April while Ag-
riculture Commissioner Doyle
Conner ponders whether to ex-
tend it through the rest of the
A state hearing officer has re-
jected a challenge that Conner ex-
ceeded his authority in temporar-
ily prohibiting most uses of the
chemical after traces were found
in an Orange County family's
Meanwhile, citrus growers and
Terilk plaker Union Carbide lined
up against environmentalists
Monday during a public hearing
called to discuss extending the
ban so scientists can further
study Temik's safety.
Supporters of Temlk, which
growers praised as "miracle mate-
rial," demanded that Conner lift
the ban unless the chemical is
"It is our belief that Temlk has
become a cause celebre a con-
venient target, if you will for a
host of anxieties and misunder-
standings," said John Kirch, vice.
president of Union Carbide Agri-
cultural Products Co.
"There is much scientific and
factual information to support the fact that no wide-
spread threat to drinking water supplies exists from
the use of Temik," he said.
Others, including Dr. Robert J. Livingston, a Flor-
ida State University biologist, said the ban should
continue indefinitely, without exemptions, until the
state can explain why the chemical is not disappear-
ing in groundwater as Union Carbide had predicted.
Livingston, who compiled a report on Temlk's en-
vironment and health effects in Florida, said that
because the state has no information on how much
Temik is used and where, the current water and
fruit testing program Is Inadequate.
Conner banned the pesticide for three months in
late January after It was found in a drinking water
well near Winter Garden. Six months of state tests
In several parts of the state already had documented
unsafe levels in groundwater the source of drink-
ing supplies for 90 percent of Floridians.
When state tests of three other drinking wells
showed traces of Temik within federal contamina-
tion guidelines, Conner proposed extending the ban
to give state scientists more time for study.
Harold Brown, a Fort Pierce citrus grower and
custom applicator of pesticides such as Temik, at-
tacked Conner's authority to impose the temporary
ban, which expires April 18.
But in a ruling announced Monday, Department of
Administrative Hearings official Diane Tremor dis-
missed Brown's challenge, saying the emergency
ban was "a valid exercise of delegated legislative
Tremor also will consider Brown's challenge to the
extended ban. Conner chaired Monday's hearing on
the proposal, which attracted speakers on different .
sides of the Temik issue.
Kirch said residues of aldlcarb, Temlk's active in-
gredient, would always be found In soil and shallow
water under treated groves.
"The fundamental truth is degradation (of aldicarb
residues) is inevitable. This is scientific fact. It is ir-
refutable," he said.
Livingston said no studies have been done on
what happens to people if they eat or drink small
amounts of Temik in their daily diet over a long
"Temik's just the tip of a pesticide iceberg," he
said. "Do we really have control over these pesti-
cides and how they're being used?"
Lucia Peorino, a former nursery worker In Talla-
hassee, said she quit her Job because Temik was be-
ing used in the greenhouse by workers who were
given no safety training or protective equipment.
"If they could find rubber gloves, that's all they
used," she said. Under the federal label, Temik use
is restricted to trained applicators who wear protec-
But Dan Poole and Charles Sellers, custom pesti-
cide applicators from Central Florida, said Temik
was safer to use than pesticides that are sprayed.
Poole, an assistant production manager for Lake
Butler Groves, said Temik makes farms more pro-
ductive. "Without the pesticide, I feel like Florida
citrus growers might as well close down shop be-
cause we could not raise a product the public could
afford to buy," he said.
"Temik has made agriculture prosperous for citrus
people," said Linda Sellers, whose husband is a
Temik applicator In Leesburg.
Mrs. Sellers said Conner's suspension order has
been "financially devastating" for her family. "We
have had to liquidate assets to get by."
Ion Sancho, a spokesman for the Coalition Against
the Misuse of Pesticides, asked Conner to extend
the ban to containerized plants, as well as the pota-
to-growing counties of Flagler, Putnam and St.
Johns. Conner had exempted those areas.
Frank Graham, an Agriculture Department attor-
ney, said Conner hoped to make a decision on the
two proposed rules within a matter of days to avoid
a time lag between the expiration of the emergency
rule and effective date of the extension.
Hazardous Waste Law May Be Altered
By RON CUNNINGHAM
Sun Capitol Bureau
TALLAHASSEE Cities and counties would
no longer be able to arbitrarily ban hazardous
waste storage or disposal facilities from their
borders under a bill approved by a Senate Natu-
ral Resources subcommittee Monday.
The existence of a "local government over-
ride" Is one of the chief reasons why no toxic
waste-handling facilities have been permitted in
Florida since the state adopted Its "cradle to
grave" waste law In 1980, said subcommittee
chairman George Kirkpatrick. D-Galnesvllle.
"Under this bill we would be able to locate a
hazardous wnsri transfer facility or a storage
SEN. GEORGE KIRKPATRICK
Supports the Bill
facility in this state," said Kirkpalrick. "Or. it
industry is willing to make the investment, an
incineration or detoxification facility."
The bill would make several major changes to
Florida's existing hazardous waste management
law, offering many incentives to Industry and
local governments to begin handling hazardous
waste products. Among other things, the bill
Raise an existing tax on hazardous waste
generators from 2 percent to 5 percent, in order
to raise several million more dollars for match-
Ing state dollars to attract federal hazardous
waste dump clean-up funds.
Allow owners of hazardous waste facilities
to deduct from their state corporate income tax,
costs for site evaluations, permit fees and certain
"I think that Is totally unnecessary," objected
Sen. Frank Mann, D-Fort Myers. "That's a hell of
an Incentive to encourage (hazardous waste
handlers) to be In the business they are already
In. The only reason Industry hasn't established a
facility In Florida so far is that our existing law
made It Impossible for them to do so."
Siphon off some of the Interest accruing
from the state's $47 million Florida Coastal Pro-
tection Trust Fund, which Is Intended to be used
for offshore oil spill clean-ups, to help reclaim
abandoned hazardous waste sites.
- A lobbyist for the Florida Petroleum Council
opposed that provision, saying that the petroleum
shippers who pay Into that fund would object to
supporting unrelated hazardous waste clean-ups.
"As far as petroleum Is concerned, we are a
minor generator of hazardous waste," said Chris
Jensen, council lobbyist.
Retorted Kirkpatrlck, "What about the dirty
crankcase oil that winds up at Joe's gas station?
He's going to dump IIt In a creek somewhere If he
hasn't got anyplace else to put IIt."
Directs Regional Planning Councils to pre-
pare county by county Inventories of hazardous
waste generators, types of hazardous waste gener-
ated, and types of facilities needed to handle
The bill also authorizes a beginning expendi-
ture of $300,000 to conduct those needs assess-
Directs each county to incorporate into
their comprehensive plans potential sites within
their borders where certain types of hazardous
waste facilities could be located.
Prohibits counties and cities from banning
the transportation of hazardous wastes within
their borders, and bars local governments from
enacting hazardous waste regulations that are
stricter than those adopted by the state.
Gives to the governor and cabinet the au-
thority to override the decision of a local govern-
ments to deny a hazardous waste siting permit
when state authorities determine that the facility
will not adversely Impact the region.
"That's the state override provision," Kirkpa-
trick said. "It's going to be controversial, but the
fact Is that commerce Is going to stop In Florida If
we can't at least provide some transfer and han-
dling facilities. I don't know of any other way to
get local governments to cooperate."
While many experts have said that its soil and
groundwater conditions make Florida unsuitable
for hazardous waste landfills, many types of
chemical wastes can either be burned or re-
cycled. In addition, lawmakers say there Is, at the
very least, a need for site collection and transfer
stations throughout Florida In order to encourage
small generators to take their wastes to central
locations rather than Illegally dumping It.
"The guy who has 16 quarts of dirty oil out
back of his filling station Isn't going to ship it to
Alabama," Kirkpalrlck said.