Scott signs environmental bills following quiet session



Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed 94 bills into law including most of the notable environmental legislation that passed in the 2014 legislative session.

4-25-14 FL HouseThe 2014 session overall was quiet, but only after controversial bills dealing with growth management (SB 372) and environmental regulation (HB 703) died in committees. Among the bills signed on Friday:

SB 272 dealing with water utilities. The bill allows customers to petition the Public Service Commission to revoke the operating certificates of private water utilities.

HB 325 dealing with contamination sites known as brownfields. The bill expands liability protection for those doing site cleanups to include property damage or diminished value of property. Sierra Club Florida had requested a veto.

HB 536 dealing with recycled wastewater. The bill calls for a study by Dec. 1, 2015,on expanding the use of wastewater, also called “reclaimed” water.

SB 1070 Relating to Fuel Terminals. The bill prohibits cities and counties in the future from classifying fuel terminals as incompatible with local zoning.

SB 1194 involving state agency citizen support organizations. The bill would provide for a review process by the Legislature every five years to determine whether groups should be abolished. Friends of Florida State Parks opposed the bill.

HB 7023 relating to a variety of Department of Environmental Protection issues. The bill allows DEP to review aquatic preserves for possible visitor concessions, deletes old language from the petroleum contamination cleanup program prior to competitive bidding being implemented and extends environmental permits for two years. Sierra Club Florida requested a veto because of the permit extensions.

HB 7147, containing energy recommendations by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The bill drew environmental opposition because it eliminates the Solar Energy System Rebate Program that was shut down after 2010. HB 7147 also authorizes Putnam’s department to maintain a web page listing alternative fueling stations.

(Story and photo copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained from