SAC1- Relating to Environmental Resources
On Thursday, October 22nd, SAC1, relating to Environmental Resources, by the House State Affairs Committee unanimously passed through the House State Affairs Committee with 15 yeas and 0 nays.
The Department of Environmental Protection projects a water shortage of 1.3 billion gallons of water per day by 2030. This bill comprehensively addresses this shortage and other water issues in our state. SAC1 revises policies relation to Florida’s environmental resources including, but not limited to:
- Creating the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act to expedite protection and restoration of the water flow and water quality in the aquifer and Outstanding Florida Springs.
- Ensuring that the appropriate governmental entities continue to develop and implement uniform water supply planning, consumptive water use permitting, and resource protection programs for the area encompassed by the Central Florida Water Initiative.
- Updating and restructuring the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Act to reflect and build upon the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) completion of basin management action plans (BMAP) for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, and the St. Lucie River and Estuary, DEP’s continuing development of a BMAP for the inland portion of the Caloosahatchee River watershed, and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ implementation of best management practices in the three basins.
- Modifying water supply and resource planning documents and processes in order to provide more robust representations of the state’s water needs and goals.
- Requiring the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to conduct an annual assessment of water resources and conservation lands.
- Requiring DEP to publish an online publicly accessible database of conservation lands on which public access is compatible with conservation and recreation purposes.
- Requiring DEP to conduct a feasibility study for creating and maintaining a web-based, interactive map of the state’s water-bodies as well as regulatory information about each water-body.
AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs spoke in support of this bill.
AIF supports efforts to address Florida’s major water challenges by developing sound, comprehensive science-based water policy.
HB 285- Relating to Natural Gas Rebate Program
On Wednesday, October 21st, HB 285, relating to Natural Gas Rebate Program, by Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) passed unanimously through the House Business & Professions Subcommittee with 13 yeas and 0 nays.
In 2013, the Legislature created the Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate Program (program) within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to “help reduce transportation costs in this state and encourage freight mobility investments that contribute to the economic growth of the state.” Beginning with Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and continuing through Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (five years), DACS is required to award rebates, to those eligible, for the costs of converting a diesel- or gasoline-powered motor vehicle to a natural gas fuel-powered motor vehicle on or after July 1, 2013. An applicant is eligible to receive a maximum rebate of $25,000 per vehicle up to a total of $250,000 per applicant per fiscal year, on a first-come, first-served basis.
This bill would allow DACS to use any unencumbered funds remaining after June 30th of each fiscal year to award additional rebates for those that have not received a rebate under the program. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.