Thursday, February 18, 2010

Contamination notification bill appears stalled

What a difference a year makes -- when it comes to a bill to require that neighbors be notified of groundwater contamination from a pollution site.

HB 207 by Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, Wednesday was temporarily passed by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee after Kriseman acknowledged that members appeared ready to vote it down

He said the bill would require landowners -- rather than the state -- to pay for notifying neighboring property owners and parents of schoolchildren when contamination exists on a site. The bill, he said, is identical to one he offered last year in response to groundwater contamination at the Raytheon electronics manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg.

Contamination was discovered there in 1991 and the state was notified in 1995. But surrounding residents were not told until 2005, when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said contaminated groundwater began to move away from the site.

Kriseman said his bill is the same as one that sailed through three committees last year without a "no" vote. But this year, several House Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee members said the bill's requirements expands the role of government and could place a severe financial burden on businesses.

(Copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)

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