Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sierra Club Legislative Alert

Sierra Club Legislative Alert
Please call the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee today and urge them to oppose these bills when they come up on Thursday morning (tomorrow):

SB 1122 Growth Management
by Sen. Bennett

SB 1404 Environmental Permitting
by Sen. Evers

2011 Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee

Charles Dean, Chairman  (850) 487-5017
Steve Oelrich, V. Chair      (850) 487-5020
Nancy Detert                       (850) 487-5081
Dennis Jones                      (850) 487-5065
Jack Latvala                        (850) 487-5075
Nan Rich                               (850) 487-5103
Eleanor Sobel                     (850) 487-5097

I have pasted in the alert from 1000 Friends of Florida below.  Sierra Club Florida has been working with them and our other environmental allies against the attack on Growth Management embodied in SB 1122 this session.  This bill is part of the overall attack on state oversight of development that will result in the loss of natural ecosystems essential to citizens, communities, and businesses in Florida.
Details on SB 1404 are immediately below the information on SB 1122.
SB 1122 - Growth Management
The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will vote on the major Senate growth management bill at 9:15 a.m., Thursday, April 14. This bill picks up most of the objectionable parts of the previously passed House bill, HB 7129. Please contact the committee members (calls are best and emails are second) and ask them to oppose PCB CS/SB1122.

Among other things this damaging legislation would increase the likelihood of more billboard sprawl, repeals 9J-5 and 9J-11 which are the underpinnings of growth management for the last 25 years, provides for unlimited plan amendments, adds weakening language to the existing, controversial “agricultural enclave” provisions, eliminates the financial feasibility test for all plan amendments, limits local governments’ ability to make developers pay for infrastructure impacts, prohibits local governments from any type of land use referendum process, extends all local permits for a 2 year period, prohibits super majority votes on plan amendments, prohibits new and/or increased impact fees for 2 years, weakens Rural Land Stewardship requirements, and substantially limits state review comments on plan amendments.

To protect our most critical economic asset, our natural areas, and our quality of life that is so dependent on effective comprehensive planning, call your Legislator now and ask them to oppose PCB CS/SB1122.

Talking points on SB 1404
SB 1404 is a bill that combines a number of bad ideas we have seen in the past.  The sponsor on the House side (Rep. Patronis – HB 991 the companion bill) has addressed some of our concerns, but a number of issues remain that we must oppose.

First among these is Section 1 which would shift the burden of proof to the party challenging a license, permit, or conceptual approval from the applicant (the developer) to the challenger and deprives the challenger of the right to rebut in three areas that are important to the environment: Water Resources, Land Reclamation, and Environmental Control.  The effect of the bill would be to make it even more difficult for citizens to challenge bad agency decisions.

Section 11 would limit agencies to only two requests for additional information when processing permits.  The state should not be limited in gathering information to determine whether or not to issue a permit.

Section 13 would siphon funds away from a water treatment plant upgrade in the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt needed to protect the drinking water supply for area residents from impacts caused by rock mining.  The existing source of money would be diverted to a seepage control project, but mine owners should come up with separate funding rather than shortchanging water safety.

Section 16 exempts any proposed solid mineral mine and any proposed addition to, expansion of, or change to an existing solid mineral mine from DRI review. Any proposed changes to any previously approved solid mineral mine DRI’s development orders having vested rights will not be subject to further review or approval as a DRI, nor will any notices of proposed change review or approvals pursuant to s. 380.06(19), F.S., except for those applications pending as of July 1, 2011, which will be governed by s. 380.115(2), F.S.28 Any previously approved solid mineral mine DRI development orders will continue to be effective unless rescinded by the developer. The PCS also provides that all local government regulations of proposed solid mineral mines or addition, expansion or change to solid mineral mines remain in effect. (from the staff analysis)

David Cullen
Sierra Club Florida  lobbyist