SB 522 Biodiesel Fuel (Bradley) – This bill creates an exemption from the reporting, bonding, and licensing requirements of biodiesel wholesalers for local governments that manufacture biodiesel solely for internal use.  The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Agriculture Committee, and will now move on to Community Affairs, its second of four committees of reference. 

The House companion, HB 633 (Perry), has yet to be heard.  The bill is presently in the Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, it first of three committees. 

HB 0007 – Water Management Districts (Porter) – This bill would require that the priority list and schedule submitted to the DEP by the water management districts also identify any proposed reservations as well as water bodies that have the potential to be affected by withdrawals in an adjacent district.   Under the bill, districts must provide DEP with technical information and staff support for the development of a reservation, minimum flow or level, or recovery or prevention strategy to be adopted by rule.  Any reservation, MFL, or recovery or prevention strategy adopted by the DEP shall be applied by the districts without the need for rule adoption. 

The bill also provides that if the geographic area of a resource management project crosses WMD boundaries, the affected WMDs are authorized to designate a single affected district by interagency agreement to conduct all or part of the applicable resource management responsibilities. If funding assistance is provided, some or all of the benefits must accrue to the funding WMD.   Finally, the bill requires all WMDs to develop, along with the regional water supply authority, the regional water supply plan, when public utilities and public water supply are affected.   

The bill was passed unanimously by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, and will now move on to the Rulemaking Oversight and Repeal Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference.  The Senate companion, SB 244 – (Dean), is currently in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, its final committee before heading to the Senate Floor. 

HB 375 – Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems (Roberson) – The bill as filed would have amended current law regarding Aerobic Treatment Units (or ATUs) by providing that a maintenance entity must inspect each ATU system at least twice each year for the initial two years of the maintenance service agreement, but then only once a year thereafter.  The bill also provided that a maintenance entity must report semiannually, instead of quarterly, to the DOH the number of ATU systems inspected and serviced.   

An amendment was filed this week by the bill sponsor that removed the language reducing the frequency of inspections and reports, and added language allowing reports to be submitted electronically.   The amendment also provides that a property owner of a single-family residence may be approved and permitted as a maintenance entity for his or her own system upon written certification from the manufacturer that they have received training on proper installation and service.   

As allowed under current law, the amendment also requires the maintenance entity service agreements to conspicuously disclose that a property owner of a single-family residence is exempt from the registration requirements but is subject to all permitting requirements.

The amendment was adopted and the bill was passed unanimously by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.  The bill will now move on to the Health Quality Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference.   As of this writing, there is no Senate companion filed. 

SB 364 - Consumptive Use Permits for Development of Alternative Water Supplies (Hays) – This bill directs that alternative water supply (AWS) development projects are eligible for consumptive use permits (CUPs) of at least 30 years if reasonable assurance is provided that permit conditions will be met for the duration.  Further, if the permittee issues bonds to finance the project and completes the project within seven years, the CUP may be extended for a maximum of seven years to allow the permittee to repay those bonds.

AWS permits would still be subject to compliance reports and water management district water shortage orders, with allocation reductions allowed in order to prevent harm to water resources or existing legal uses.  Under the bill, an AWS CUP may not be issued for non-brackish groundwater supplies.    

The bill was passed unanimously by the Community Affairs Committee and now moves on to the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, its third of four committees of reference.  The House companion, HB 109 – (Young), is now in State Affairs, its final committee. 

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee – This week, the committee heard presentations from the Departments of Management Services and Environmental Protection regarding the State Lands and Records Information System.  In 2010, the Legislature passed a bill requiring an inventory of all lands and facilities owned, leased or otherwise occupied or managed by the state or water management districts.  According to agency representatives, the data system includes 114,232 parcels of land and 20,368 state-owned facilities totaling over 220 million square feet, owned and managed by 65 different entities.

The information is being programmed into a data base so that all inventories are available in one central location.  The state-owned land records are compared and reconciled with DOR and tax assessor information, and there is a GIS mapping system available for review.    The next phase of the system will allow the replacement of Board of Trustees systems and operating obligation, provide a “point and click” searchable interface, and enhance lease and business management capabilities.