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Sat Dec 31, 2016, 08:15 AM

DEP overreaching legislative authority in issuing 24-hour notification rule

A proposed state rule requiring the media be told of a spill or release of pollution within 24 hours of the event has been struck down as an over-reach of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's legislative authority.

DEP came up with the “Public Notice of Pollution” rule following a 200-million-gallon spill at the Mosaic fertilizer plant in Mulberry that threatened the public’s drinking water. The company notified DEP immediately, but the public didn’t learn about it until almost three weeks later, leading Gov. Rick Scott to direct the agency to implement an emergency rule.

A similar lack of notification occurred in Tallahassee when a 1.6-million gallon sewage spill during Hurricane Hermine was reported to DEP but not to potentially affected residents.

“Protecting Florida’s pristine environment is DEP’s top priority and they will continue the public pollution notification process to ensure all Floridians and visitors are notified of pollution incidents,” said McKinley Lewis, deputy communications director for Gov. Scott. “Gov. Scott has been clear that the current law is outdated and needs to be changed.”

Read more: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2016/12/30/dep-overreaching-legislative-authority-issuing-24-hour-notification-rule/96009356/

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