Florida House Approves Ratification of State Numeric Nutrient Criteria

In a show of bipartisan support, today the Florida House of Representatives approved House Bill 7051 with a vote of 118 to 0.  The bill directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”) to submit the revisions to 62-302, F.A.C., and 62-303, F.A.C., to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) within 30 days of the effective date of the bill.  The rule revisions adopt state-level nutrient limits for impaired fresh water waterbodies throughout the state.

Referencing the federal numeric nutrient criteria, HB 7051 states the “estimates of the cost to implement the [FDEP’s] proposed amendments to Chapters 62-302 and 62-303, F.A.C., are significantly less than estimates of the cost to implement the numeric nutrient criteria rules adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.”

The bill references the pending rule challenges as justification for an exemption from the legislative ratification requirement now required by Section 120.541(3), Fla. Stat.  The bill explains that the rule challenge would delay ratification until after the conclusion of the 2012 legislative session.  The bill reasons that the exemption will facilitate the EPA’s review of the state rules under Section 303 of the Clean Water Act.

Next step for the state criteria is for a vote by the state Senate.  The Senate companion bill, SB 2060, is on the Senate special order calendar for Tuesday.

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