Bills that would streamline construction permitting and prohibit the state from enforcing federal water quality standards were passed out of a committee on Tuesday despite Florida Department of Environmental Protection concerns.
HB 239 by Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers, was filed in response to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency adopting specific limits for nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways. Industry groups say the limits will be costly to industries and utilities and are over-reaching.
At a meeting of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, Jerry Brooks, director of DEP's Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, raised concerns that the bill would cause businesses to be required to get permits from the EPA rather than DEP. He also said the bill directs DEP to set nutrient limits for each waterway across the state, a process that he said could take 15 or 20 years.
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