Florida Farm Bureau Expresses Concerns with State’s Emergency Pollution Rule

DEP LogoFlorida Farm Bureau is challenging the proposed Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) pollution notification rule.

Agriculturists follow a strict, federally-enforced notification procedure on all pollutant spills. The new rule requires the “owner, operator of any facility, including a city or county government, to provide notification of incidents or discovery of pollution within 24 hours to DEP, local governments and the general public through the media.”

“Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) believes the farmer should not be placed in the position where they need to hire an engineer to determine potential off-site impact and a media expert to contact and handle mandated media and local government interactions,” said Charlie Shinn, FFB director of government and community affairs. “Notification requirements are already in place for potential pollutants such as agricultural chemicals and petroleum products.”

As the voice of farmers and ranchers in Florida, FFB is concerned that the rule’s reporting procedures will be cost prohibitive for small family farms.

The proposed rule was requested by Gov. Scott in response to two spills that occurred when a sinkhole formed under a pool of process water at Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC in Mulberry and a release of domestic wastewater from a facility operated by the City of St. Petersburg.

Other organizations challenging the rule include Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Trucking Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Emergency rule notification requirements can be viewed at http://dep.state.fl.us/pollutionnotice/.