Bill allows longer limestone mine permits

A revised bill that would allow the state to grant state permits to limestone mining operations for the life of the mine was approved by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee.

Permits for the life of a mine now are granted for heavy minerals operations but not limestone mines, according to a bill analysis. Rep. Leonard Bembry, D-Greenville, said the bill is needed to ensure that limestone mine owners can recoup their investments and supply the state with limerock needed for roads and other construction projects.

Tarmac America has proposed digging a mine in southern Levy County in his district, Bembry said.

A strike-all amendment to HB 617 added language stating that the bill would not prevent a local government from issuing permit for a shorter duration.

The bill now goes to the Natural Resources Appropriations Committee.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the bill called for DEP to prepare guidelines for transferring permitting responsibilities to Miami-Dade County. But that language in the original bill was referencing existing law — F.S. 373.4415 — and was not contained in the strike-all amendment.)