Florida League of Cities

Climate Resilience and Drinking Water Standards (Support) – Failed

SB 1630 (Torres) and HB 1531 (Joseph) require the Department of Environmental Protection to establish the Blue Communities Program to incentivize local action to reduce nutrient pollution and ocean acidification in the ocean, coastal waters and fresh waters. The program would provide technical and financial assistance to local governments that qualify as blue communities under the bills. The bills specify qualification criteria for local governments to become blue communities. The bills establish the Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Grant Fund within the department and authorize the establishment of an advisory board to determine eligibility of projects for financial assistance for adaptation and resilience projects. They also establish the Carbon Sequestration Advisory Council within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to assist the Department in documenting and quantifying carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with agricultural practices and land uses occurring on agricultural lands. The purpose of the documentation is to assist and encourage agricultural landowners to participate in carbon trading. The bills also establish the Ocean Stewardship Special Account from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the collection and use of moneys for the conservation, restoration and enhancement of marine resources. The bills provide for the deposit of user fees and other funding sources into the Account, which shall be used for marine conservation, restoration, enhancement, research, enforcement actions and educational activities. The bills require ocean stewardship user fees to be paid by commercial vessels and all operators of watercraft or water sports equipment. In addition, HB 1531 requires the Department of Environmental Protection or county health departments to monitor PFAS compounds in community water systems and nontransient noncommunity water systems using the national primary drinking water regulations. If the presence of PFAS compounds is detected at or above a specified level but below the Environmental Protection Agency’s specified health advisory level, the bill requires the Department or county health department to annually monitor the PFAS compound levels in the water systems. The bill requires the Department to adopt rules by September 2024 to implement these requirements, including the establishment of enforceable maximum contaminant levels for PFAS compounds. (O’Hara)