FAPG Legislative Update
November 23, 2015
Interim Committee Week 5
Water Bill
A comprehensive, statewide water policy package passed committee stops in both the
House and Senate this week, moving closer to reaching the floor of each respective
chamber. A long-term water policy for Florida that plans for water supply, water quality
and water quantity is important to all Floridians as it ensures an adequate water supply
and helps protect and restore our natural resources.
On Wednesday, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations
Subcommittee passed HB 7005, the House’s water package sponsored by Rep. Matt
Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres). On Thursday, the Senate passed SB 552, an identical water
bill sponsored by Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness).
The Senate Appropriations Committee was the final committee stop for SB 552, meaning
the bill is set for a floor hearing by the full Senate as early as the first week of the 2016
legislative session. HB 7005 has one committee stop remaining before reaching the floor
of the House.
Fracking Regulation Bills
There was no action on the Fracking Regulation bills HB 191/SB 318 this week, but due to
questions from some members the following is a more in depth analysis of what the bills are
intended to do: Strengthens the regulatory framework governing high-pressure well stimulation,
known as fracking, in Florida. Fracking is currently allowed in Florida with minimal oversight by
the state. This bill provides regulatory tools such as requiring companies to obtain a permit and
provide financial assurances before conducting fracking operations, conducting inspections
during critical phases of well construction and operation, and increasing civil fines for bad actors
to help keep fracking safe.
The bill also requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct a study,
which is subject to scientific peer review, on the potential effects of fracking and prohibits DEP
from issuing permits for fracking until rulemaking is complete. In addition, the bill requires
companies to disclose chemicals used in fracking fluid so the public has knowledge of what
chemicals are being introduced into Florida's environment. In my view, this bill takes positive
steps to ensure Florida's environment is protected and any new fracking industries that may
emerge are properly regulated.
The following is an update on bill activity for Interim Committee Week 5:
2016 Legislation
SB 100/HB 697 Petroleum Restoration Program ( Sen. Wilton Simpson and Rep. Jamie
grant) Revising the eligibility requirements of the Abandoned Tank Restoration Program;
deleting provisions prohibiting the relief of liability for persons who acquired title after a
certain date; revising the conditions for eligibility and methods for payment of costs for the
low-risk site initiative; revising the eligibility requirements for receiving rehabilitation
funding; reducing the number of sites that may be proposed for certain advanced cleanup
applications, etc. Temporarily postponed (TP’d) on November 9th, remains in Full
Appropriations Committee. The House bill was filed on Tuesday.
SB 92/HB 351 Contaminated Sites (Sen. Greg Evers/Rep. Brad Drake) Contaminated
Sites; Defining the terms “background concentration” and “long-term natural attenuation”;
requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to include protocols for the use of
long-term natural attenuation where site conditions warrant; providing that institutional
controls are not required under certain circumstances if alternative cleanup target levels are
used; providing additional contamination cleanup criteria for brownfield sites and brownfield
areas, etc. After being amended in committee on Thursday, SB 92 has passed
unanimously, and has passed out of all committees of reference and is ready to be placed
on the Senate Calendar. HB 351 passed unanimously out of the House Ag & Natural
Resources Committee on Tuesday.
SB 166/HB 19 (Rep. Jenne/Sen. Soto) Well Stimulation Treatments: Prohibits well
stimulation treatments for exploration or production of oil or natural Gas. Oil and Natural
Gas Production or Recovery: Defining the terms “hydraulic fracturing” and “well
stimulation treatment”; prohibiting a person from engaging in hydraulic fracturing or
performing well stimulation treatments in this state or the waters adjacent to this state;
prohibiting a person from disposing of related materials and byproducts of hydraulic
fracturing or well stimulation treatments, etc. Bills have been referenced to Committee’s
but have not been agendaed for a hearing. No Change
HB 191/SB 318 Regulation of Oil & Gas Resources by Rep. Ray Rodrigues/ Rep. Cary Pigman
and Sen. Garrett Richter – Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources; Preempts regulation of all
matters relating to exploration, development, production, processing, storage, &
transportation of oil & gas; declares existing ordinances & regulations relating thereto void;
provides exception for certain zoning ordinances; revises DEP rulemaking authority; requires
permits be obtained before performance of high-pressure well stimulation; deletes provisions
requiring Division of Resource Management to get certain approval from municipal governing
bodies; requires division to consider additional criteria when issuing permits; authorizes DEP
to issue permits for performance of high-pressure well stimulation; requires DEP to conduct
study; requires applicants & operators to provide surety; increases maximum amount for civil
penalties; requires DEP to designate national chemical registry as state's registry; requires
service providers, vendors, & well owners or operators to report certain information to DEP;
requires DEP to report certain information to registry; provides that act preempts &
supersedes certain regulations & ordinances; provides appropriation. HB 191 is now in Ag &
Natural Resources appropriations Subcommittee. Senate bill has not been agendaed for
SB 552/HB 7005 Environmental Resources; Requiring the Department of Environmental
Protection to publish, update, and maintain a database of conservation lands; authorizing
certain water management districts to designate and implement pilot projects; prohibiting
water management districts from modifying permitted allocation amounts under certain
circumstances; creating the “Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act”, etc.
HB 7005 passed 11-1 out of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee on
Wednesday and SB 552 passed unanimously out of the Full Appropriations Committee on
Thursday. Both bills are ready to be placed on the Calendar.
SB 400/HB 561: Organizational Structure of the Department of Environmental Protection
GENERAL BILL by Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Neil Combee - Organizational Structure of the
Department of Environmental Protection; Authorizing the secretary of the Department of
Environmental Protection to establish divisions as necessary to accomplish the missions and
goals of the department, etc. The Senate Bill passed unanimously out of the
Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee on Wednesday and the House bill
is in the Ag & Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.
Phil Leary, AICP
Principal, Leary Governmental Affairs
240 South Arabella Way
Saint Johns, FL 32259
[email protected]
(904)429-3847 Office
(386)937-7829 Cell

November 2015 Legislative Update By Phil Leary