Springs Protection
SB 1576 (Sen. Dean)  

  • Summary:  Designates act as "Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act";  Provides: 
  • Membership of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) to include a DEP representative with expertise in water quality management, including dissolved oxygen and nutrient pollution. ARC will evaluate and rank projects eligible for springs funding.
  • ARC will develop rules for evaluation and ranking projects, and for pilot projects designed to test nutrient reduction technologies.  A minimum of two pilot projects must be approved each cycle.  Minimum evaluation criteria is enumerated in the legislation (including MFL compliance, levels of impairment, presence of BMAPs, prioritization in regional water supply plans, cost and duration, matching funds, etc.). 
  • Funds would be allocated from Documentary Stamp revenues, and placed into the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust fund for restoration and protection of Outstanding Florida Springs, as defined. 
  • “Outstanding Florida Springs” are defined to include all first magnitude springs as well as DeLeon, Peacock, Rock, Wekiwa and Gemini Springs.  By July 1, 2015, DEP shall delineate springs protection zones, and water management districts shall establish MFLs for each of these springs.  By 2017, the DEP must develop BMAPs for each of the Outstanding Florida Springs (identifying load allocations for fertilizer, animal waste, septic tanks, wastewater treatment facilities, and stormwater); districts must implement prevention and recovery strategies if sufficient water is not available to meet MFLs. 
  • Within six months of delineation of protection zones, each local government must: i) meet minimum requirements of the Model Fertilizer Ordinance, including a requirement of 50% slow release nitrogen; ii) create or revise its stormwater management plan addressing point source and nonpoint sources; iii) update comprehensive plans (after consulting with DEP, DOT, WMDs). Each wastewater treatment facility must meet 3 mg/L by July 2019 unless variance granted (or funding is not available).  
  • In developing BMAPs:  DEP, DOH and local governments shall identify septic tanks on single-family residential lots of less than one acre, as well as multi-family, industrial and commercial properties.  Within one year, local government must develop a plan for a) upgrades, b) connection to sewer systems, or c) no action – and submit it to DEP for approval.  Costs may not be imposed on the property owner. 
  • Local governments, WMDs, utilities and agricultural producers must submit project proposals to the ARC for funding up to 75%, with the exception of fiscally constrained counties and septic tank upgrades and connections, which are eligible for 100% funding.  The Legislature may use other funding sources for these projects.
  • Activities prohibited in protection zones include: new industrial wastewater disposal systems and RIBs (unless they meet 3 mg/L); septic tanks (unless system is on lot with less than one bedroom per acre, or meets 3 mg/L Nitrogen at boundary); and hazardous waste facilities.   A variance provision has been included, and no actions are required until funding becomes available. 
  • Draft strike-all amendment distributed on 3/13/14:
    • Removes requirement for action notwithstanding the lack of scientific certainty; DEP directed to use the TMDL rules as guidance for comparable springs program.
    • In Definition section, references removed to bedrooms and manufactured homes;
    • If MFLs have not been set, any CUP must be accompanied with assurance that withdrawal “individually and cumulatively” will not harm springs. 
    • Adds a second step of a “Spring Action Plan” after BMAPs are developed
    • Required fertilizer ordinance must now provide that nitrogen “may not exceed the lowest, basic maintenance rate if the most recent [IFAS] recommendations.” 
    • If adequate funding is available, WWTFs must be upgraded, agricultural BMPs must be implemented.  Funding proposals must be submitted every two years.  
    • DEP must develop a plan for residential properties (of less than one acre) with septic tanks – local government must submit for approval a plan that determines whether the properties should be: upgrades, connected to sewer or left alone.
    • Prohibited activities in protection zones now include TSD facilities for residuals and septage and land spreading; dairy cattle, feed lots, and slaughter operations.
    • Responsible Management Entities – local government must demonstrate management skills, personnel, financial capacity, and technical expertise. 

?    Substitute Strike-all amendment filed 3/19/14: 

  • Revisions include: extended deadlines for MFL development through 2020 if in the best interest of the public; exemption from matching fund requirement for the Northwest and Suwannee River water management districts; adds language that remedial actions are required irrespective of available funding if included in an adopted BMAP; extends deadlines for WWTF upgrades to 2021 and agricultural BMPs to 2019; removes prohibition on hazardous waste transfer and storage facilities in protection zones; and grandfathers existing animal feeding and slaughter operations and the expansion thereof. 

?    Strike-all amendment filed 3/28/14: 

In addition to technical amendments, revisions include the addition of Poe Springs (Alachua) as an OFS and a definition of “adequate funding” (which is required before remedial actions must take place) to mean 100% of the state’s portion (up to 75% of the total cost).    

  • Status:

02/28/14   SENATE Filed

03/05/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Agriculture; Appropriations

03/13/14   SENATE Temporarily Postponed by Environmental Preservation and Conservation

03/20/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Environmental Preservation and Conservation; 8 Yeas, 0 Nays

03/28/14   Bill to be discussed during EDR's Revenue Estimating Impact Conference  

03/31/14   Favorable with CS by Agriculture; 5 Yeas, 0 Nays


  • No action has been taken in the House, and Speaker Weatherford has publicly announced that major water legislation would likely take place next year under Speaker-Designate Crisafulli.  The Governor’s office has recommended an appropriation of $55 million.   

Springs Revival Act
HB 49 (Rep. Stewart) and SB 76 (Sen. Soto)

  • Summary:  Requiring water management districts to identify certain springs, develop certain plans, and submit certain reports to the Governor and the Legislature; authorizing the districts to adopt rules and issue order.
  • Status:

08/27/13               SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Appropriations; Rules

10/07/13   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee 

10/07/13   HOUSE Now in Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee

Nonresidential Farm Buildings
HB 1147 (Rep. Smith) and SB 1342 (Sen. Dean)

  • Summary:  Exempts nonresidential farm buildings, fences and signs that are located on lands used for bona fide agricultural purposes from any county or municipal assessment.
  • Status:

02/26/14   HOUSE Filed

                  SENATE Filed

03/04/14   SENATE Referred to Agriculture; Community Affairs; Appropriations

03/05/14   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Finance & Tax Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

03/17/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Agriculture; 7 Yeas, 0 Nays

04/01/14   SENATE Favorable by Community Affairs; 9 Yeas, 0 Nays

  • Bills were filed late and appear to have a significant fiscal impact on local government.   The House bill has yet to be heard in committee, and appears unlikely to be considered.  

Environmental Regulation
HB 703 (Rep. Patronis) and SB 1464 (Sen. Simpson)

  • Summary:  Among other things, the bill provides for:
  • A prohibition on county authority to modify or amend any wetlands, springs, or stormwater regulations on agricultural lands;
  • A simple majority board approval of comprehensive plan elements;
  • A prohibition on the rescission of plan amendments approving other land uses on agricultural properties;
  • Consumptive use permits of up to 50 years for surface water storage projects, and 30 years for DRIs in RACEC areas;
  • Preemption of well construction criteria and standards;
  • Proof of insurance sufficient to satisfy mitigation bank financial responsibility requirements; 
  • A state plan for implementing federal greenhouse gas regulations; and 
  • Creation of a Solid Waste Closure account to fund closures by permitted and insured facilities. 

Amendment filed to House bill removes section on federal greenhouse gas regulations, and adds provisions that exempt from local regulation those facilities (ditches, dikes, water control structures, canals, and pump stations) included within a water control plan that were issued an ERP, or CWA permit and were included in a plat.  This is §298 language from last year’s bill that was revised to address only the Ranger Drainage District in Orange County.  The amendment also automatically extends for two years any building permit, DEP or water management district wetlands permit which expires January 1, 2015.  

Stakeholder meeting held on March 3, 2014, to address issues with each section of the bill.  Florida Association of Counties, as well as representatives of several individual counties attended and expressed concerns with the bill as drafted.

During first committee stop in Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, amendments were adopted which: removes language related to modification of grandfathered wetlands, springs, and stormwater regulations on agricultural lands; removes preemption of Ranger Drainage District;  removes well construction preemption; and removes the 50 year permit for dispersed water storage projects.  The House bill was not amended in the Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee to match the Senate bill as the Subcommittee is concerned with fiscal analyses rather than substantive policy. 

  • Status:

01/21/14   HOUSE Filed

02/03/14   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Local & Federal Affairs Committee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

02/28/14   SENATE Filed

03/04/14   HOUSE Favorable with CS by Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; 10 Yeas, 2 Nays

03/05/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Appropriations; Rules

03/13/14   HOUSE Reference to Local & Federal Affairs Committee removed

03/26/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Environmental Preservation and Conservation; 4 Yeas, 1 Nay

03/31/14   HOUSE Favorable by Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; 8 Yeas, 4 Nays

  • The recent series of comprehensive environmental permitting bills (fourth session in a row) have historically been revised considerably throughout the committee process.  

HB 325 (Rep. Stone) and SB 586 (Sen. Altman)

  • Summary:  Revises procedures for designation of brownfield areas by local governments; provides certain liability protection against property damages.  The bill and amendments provide procedures for notice and public hearings, both within and outside redevelopment areas.  Liability protection is for those who complete rehabilitation for claims of property damage accruing after July 1, 2014.   
  • Status:

11/18/13   HOUSE Filed

12/16/13   HOUSE Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee; Local & Federal Affairs Committee; Economic Affairs Committee

01/07/14   SENATE Filed

01/16/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Judiciary

02/04/14   HOUSE Favorable with CS by Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee; 11 Yeas, 1 Nay

02/05/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Environmental Preservation and Conservation; 7 Yeas, 0 Nays

03/05/14   SENATE Favorable by Community Affairs; 8 Yeas, 1 Nay

03/06/14   HOUSE Favorable with CS by Local & Federal Affairs Committee; 17 Yeas, 0 Nays

03/18/14   SENATE Not Considered by Judiciary

03/25/14   SENATE Not Considered by Judiciary

04/01/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Judiciary; 8 Yeas, 1 Nay

  • The Senate bill will now move to the floor; the House bill remains in its final committee of reference.
Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act

HB 71 (Rep. Rodriguez)  

  • Summary:  Creates "Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act"; directs DEP to establish online hydraulic fracturing chemical registry; requires service providers, vendors, & owners or operators of wells on which hydraulic fracturing treatments are performed to disclose certain information; provides exceptions; authorizes DEP to adopt rules.
  • Status:

10/07/13  HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

01/14/14  HOUSE Favorable with CS by Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; 8 Yeas, 4 Nays

01/22/14  HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed

02/11/14   HOUSE on Agenda of Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, meeting cancelled.

There is no Senate companion as of yet, and considerable opposition. 

Note: A related bill filed in the House by Rep. Rodrigues (HB 157) provides an exemption from public records requirements for “trade secrets” contained within hydraulic fracturing operations.  The bill was referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Government Operations Subcommittee; and the State Affairs Committee.  On 1/14/14, the bill passed out of ANR (by a vote of 8-4) and is now in the Government Operations Subcommittee.   Neither bill has moved since the Legislative Session has begun.

Water and Wastewater Utilities
HB 813 (Rep. Mayfield) and SB 1248 (Sen. Latvala)

  • Summary:  Designates act as "Ratepayer Representation Act"; prohibits county from providing water or sewer services in unincorporated areas covered by agreement with municipality; authorizes county to services when agreement expires or does not provide expiration date after referendum and reimbursement; specifies that corporate powers of municipality do not apply to unincorporated areas of county without county's express consent; limits amount of water & sewer utility rates, fees, charges, & surcharges that municipality may impose on consumers outside of municipality's boundaries; requires PSC approval of such rates, fees, charges, & surcharges; provides for expiration of surcharge unless PSC approves for repayment of bonds; authorizes ratepayers in unincorporated areas to petition PSC for determination whether rates, fees, & charges imposed by municipality are just & equitable; provides that PSC has regulatory authority over municipality that provides water or wastewater utility service in unincorporated areas of county; requires PSC approval before municipality purchases certain water or wastewater facilities.
  • Status:

02/05/14   HOUSE Filed

02/14/14   HOUSE Referred to Energy & Utilities Subcommittee; Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee; Regulatory Affairs Committee

03/18/14   HOUSE – Bill fails in Energy & Utilities Subcommittee (6 Yeas, 8 Nays); Upon motion, bill retained by the Subcommittee

02/25/14   SENATE Filed

02/28/14   SENATE Referred to Community Affairs; Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Rules

03/24/14   HOUSE Temporarily postponed by Energy & Utilities Subcommittee

A similar bill last session did not make it to its first committee of reference.