November 2022, Volume 24, Issue 10

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 Table of Contents

A Message from Your Legislative & Agency Relations Committee Chair
Mark Heidecker, City of Tallahassee, Legislative & Agency Relations Committee Chair

Mark HeideckerThe Legislative & Agency Relations Committee remains busy working on behalf of our members to ensure equitable rules and legislation are enacted to protect our water resources. Similar to last year, much of our activity has surrounded rulemaking efforts related to the Clean Waterways Act of 2020. FDEP has initiated statewide Stormwater Design Criteria Rulemaking with three workshops detailing proposed changes to the Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) Applicant’s Handbook. Additional workshops are planned for both December and January in preparation for legislative ratification this upcoming session, which begins on March 7, 2023. The Committee is also keeping tabs on efforts by FDEP to move forward with Bacteria TMDLs, the implementation of HB 53, WOTUS, available funding as part of the Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation (BIL) and EPA’s efforts to regulate PFOA/PFOS as hazardous substances. Information on many of these and other important state and national issues can be found on FSA’s Advocacy Page.

It’s anticipated that the 2023 Legislative Session will be relatively light on additional stormwater or water quality legislation. Regardless, the Legislative & Agency Relations Committee and FSA will continue to monitor and engage in priority issues that affect stormwater management. You can follow our efforts on the Legislative Page on FSA’s website. When the Session begins, FSA will post updated Priority Issue summaries on a weekly basis. If there is a water resource issue that is important to you, be sure to contact FSA.

FSA Membership - Last Month to Renew!

This could be your last newsletter! FSA’s fiscal year began November 1, 2022. The 30-day “grace period” allowing member organizations and their staff to continue receiving member benefits ends November 30, 2022. FSA is sending renewal notices to your organization’s primary contact, contact us today if you need a copy of your invoice.

2023 Annual Conference – Mark Your Calendars

Mark your calendars for FSA’s 2023 Annual Conference to be held June 14-16, 2023 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott. As FSA celebrates it’s 30-year anniversary, The Conference theme will be Celebrating 30 years of Leadership in Stormwater Management. The Call for Presentations will launch in December and stormwater leaders throughout Florida are invited to submit presentation proposals. Watch your email for more information to come soon! 

Statewide Stormwater Design Criteria Rulemaking

FDEP held its third workshop on improvements to the statewide stormwater design criteria on November 3, 2022. Discharges from projects that are constructed in a manner that is consistent with the design criteria are presumed to comply with water quality standards, although studies completed in 2007 found that the criteria used at that time did not fulfill that goal. Attempts were initiated at that time to update the criteria but were abandoned in early 2010. Other documents related to the update of statewide stormwater regulations can be found on FDEP’s Clean Waterways Act webpage. The current effort is in response to legislation that passed in 2020. FSA’s comments on the rulemaking are available on FSA’s Advocacy Page.

FDEP has posted the fourth rulemaking workshop agenda on their website. The workshop is scheduled for December 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. It is our understanding that FDEP will be focusing on proposed changes to Section 11 of the ERP Applicants Handbook, Volume I. Members are encouraged to monitor this process and provide comments to the proposed rule updates. Comments or questions concerning the proposed criteria should be directed to [email protected].

Legislature Organizational Session

The House and Senate organization sessions were convened November 22, 2022 after swearing in new members and adopting joint rules. Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples) was elected President of the Senate and Representative Paul Renner (R – Palm Coast) was elected Speaker of the House for 2022-23.

Interim Committee Week Schedule Released

In preparation for the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, FSA will monitor and engage on stormwater priorities during the upcoming Interim Committee Week Schedule. The dates for the interim committee meetings are as follows:

  • Monday, December 12 – Friday, December 16, 2022Florida Capitol
  • Tuesday, January 3 – Friday, January 6, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 17 – Friday, January 20, 2023
  • Monday, January 23 – Friday, January 27, 2023
  • Monday, February 6 – Friday, February 10, 2023
  • Monday, February 13 – Friday February 17, 2023
  • Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24, 2023

The Regular Session will convene on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

WOTUS Supreme Court Oral Arguments

There have been no updates on the WOTUS proposed rule since it was published on December 7, 2021. As we await the final rule, a new appeal was filed early this year seeking to clarify the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos decision. Sackett v. EPA asks the Court to clarify when a wetland is subject to the Clean Water Act. The Supreme Court hear oral arguments on October 3, 2022 and we expect a decision from the Court in early 2023.

Submit Project Ideas for Florida’s Third Restoration Plan

The Florida Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) is accepting water quality restoration project ideas. Restoration approaches might include reducing pollution and hydrologic degradation; reducing nutrient loads; creating, restoring and enhancing coastal wetlands; and protecting and conserving marine, coastal, estuarine and riparian habitats. For additional information, see the Trustee Council Programmatic Restoration Plan. Project ideas can be submitted via the Trustee Council’s portal or the Deepwater Horizon Florida portal through December 22nd.

EPA Environmental Finance Centers Announced

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of 29 Environmental Finance Centers (EFCs) to help communities across the country access federal funding for infrastructure and greenhouse gas reduction projects that improve public health and environmental protection.

The EFCs will deliver targeted technical assistance to local governments, states, Tribes, and non-governmental organizations to protect public health, safeguard the environment, and advance environmental justice. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the selected EFCs will help underserved communities that have historically struggled to access federal funding, to receive support in accessing resources for water infrastructure improvements.

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