Legislation supports Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for Florida’s environment laid out in Executive Order 23-06
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 1379 to bolster his landmark common sense conservation agenda. HB 1379 enhances protections for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), expands the existing wastewater grant program, strengthens Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), improves local government long-term comprehensive planning, and creates dedicated funding for the state’s land conservation efforts. The bill advances the agenda Governor DeSantis set forth in Executive Order (EO) 23-06 (Achieving Even More Now for Florida’s Environment). Signed by the Governor in January, EO 23-06 builds on Florida’s historic investments and accomplishments during Governor DeSantis’ first term by improving environmental protections while bettering Floridians’ lives. More on the bill can be found here.
“Four years ago, I laid out a bold agenda for the protection of Florida’s natural resources and we not only met our ambitious goals – we greatly exceeded them,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In Florida, our natural resources are the foundation of our way of life and a large driver of the economy. With this legislation, we are building on the progress we have made in water quality protection and land conservation, ensuring that we leave Florida better to God than we found it for future generations.”
“We have made historic strides in environmental protection, water quality, and land conservation under the leadership of Governor DeSantis and with the support of the Florida legislature,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “This legislation will allow us to further expedite and advance these efforts.”
“With the signing of House Bill 1379, Governor DeSantis is both renewing and expanding upon his commitment to protecting and restoring our water quality statewide, with a much-needed focus on some of our most at-risk waters in the Everglades and the Indian River Lagoon,” said Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains. “This legislation directs strategic action to address nutrient sources and expedite restoration.”
HB 1379 enacts historic comprehensive protections for Florida’s environment, including:
- Enhancing protection of the IRL by creating the IRL Protection Program and requiring a comprehensive water quality monitoring program. Additionally, this bill creates new requirements for septic systems to protect and restore the IRL.
- Expanding the eligibility requirements for the Wastewater Grant Program to include stormwater and agriculture and expanding the geographic areas of eligibility to include all waterbodies that are not meeting water quality standards.
- Strengthening BMAPs by requiring local governments to identify projects that will help meet nutrient reduction goals and expanding water quality protections from septic tanks and wastewater treatment facilities within BMAPs.
- Improving local government long-term comprehensive planning to support environmental protection and restoration by requiring comprehensive plans to determine the feasibility of providing sewer over septic in certain areas and upgrading systems to advanced wastewater treatment.
This bill also expedites Florida’s conservation efforts by dedicating $100 million annually for the Florida Forever Program, which is Florida’s premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program.
More information on Executive Order 23-06 can be found here. Executive Order 23-06 builds upon the historic investment and actions taken during the Governor’s first term. More information on Governor DeSantis’ accomplishments in his first four years can be found here.