HB 715 – Relating to Reclaimed Water
On Monday, March 2, HB 715 by Representative Randy Maggard (R-Zephyrhills) was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 22 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
The bill, which is based off the recommendations of the Potable Reuse Commission, recognizes reclaimed water as a potential source of drinking water, recognizes potable reuse water as an alternative active water supply, establishes specific water quality criteria for potable reuse, and prohibits certain utilities from discharging reuse, effluent, or reclaimed water via surface water discharges.
HB 715 will now move to the House floor.
AIF supports legislation that increases Florida’s water supply by encouraging greater utilization of reclaimed water, direct and indirect potable technology, and other alternative water supplies that are both technologically and economically feasible. States with an adequate water supply will have a head start on future economic development and job creation.
HB 1001 – Relating to Contamination
On Monday, March 2, HB 1001 by Representative Charlie Stone (R-Ocala) was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 22 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
A brownfield is a property of which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Unsafe levels of environmental contamination on a brownfield may result from past or current industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural, or recreational uses and practices. Contaminants may be found in soil, water or air. The Brownfields Program within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) created a process for designating brownfield areas as well as environmental contamination cleanup criteria, eligibility criteria, and liability protections that apply to brownfields in the state. The program also provides incentives, such as tax credits, to redevelop abandoned or underused real property, which was complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Current law states that a person can bring a cause of action in court for all damages resulting from specified discharges or other conditions of pollution if the discharge was not authorized pursuant to DEP regulations.
The bill removes the requirement that a claim for a tax credit on an additional 25% of the total rehabilitation costs for a brownfield site must be made in the final year of cleanup. The bill requires DEP to inform tax credit applicants of their eligibility status and the amount of the tax credit due by June 1 of each year, rather than May 1.
The bill also specifies that liability protections for brownfield sites are considered defenses against causes of action for all damages resulting from a discharge or certain other conditions of pollution. The bill further specifies that liability protections apply to any subsequent property owner of the brownfield site if such owner maintains compliance with any institutional controls or engineering controls required for site rehabilitation. For a cause of action brought for damages resulting from a discharge or other condition of pollution, the bill specifies that such damages may include damages to real or personal property directly resulting from the pollution rather than all damages resulting from the pollution.
HB 1001 will now move to the House floor.
AIF supports the efforts contained in this bill to promote thorough and incentivized remediation of brownfields to allow further job creation and economic development opportunities on land otherwise useless while protecting Florida businesses from vicarious liability.