Enviromental issues a key part of upcoming special session

Florida’s two incoming legislative leaders announced on Thursday that they plan to take up several significant environmental issues during a one-day special session planned for later this month.

The list for the Nov. 16 special session covers everything from septic tanks and energy rebates.

Both incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, agreed to override a number of vetoes by Gov. Charlie Crist after the 2010 session.

They also agreed, however, to approve an initiative Crist sought: approval of $31 million in federal stimulus funds to provide energy rebates for homeowners who bought solar air conditioning units. Currently a backlog of 13,000 solar rebate applicants are awaiting their payments of nearly $52 million.

The two also agreed to delay the implementation of a bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov Crist. SB 550 requires that all septic tanks be inspected every five years. The Legislature took up the bill after hearing citizens’ concerns about algal blooms, pollution and groundwater over-pumping from springs. Cannon and Dean agreed to push the start date of the new program from January 1, 2011 to July 1, 2011 to allow time respond to recent complaints about the new requirements, as well as to determine the most cost-efficient way to run the program.

You can find out more about the environmental issues that will be discussed at the special session here at the Florida Tribune.