A pending decision would authorize the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to assume administration of the federal Clean Water Act, section 404 dredge and fill permitting program from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
If approved, FDEP would issue federal 404 permits instead of USACE, thus FDEP will be the lead agency in Florida for administering the State 404 Permit Program.
The strategies and priorities for permit review, compliance monitoring and enforcement of permits, and against persons conducting unauthorized discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States over which FDEP has assumed jurisdiction under the State 404 Permit Program, shall be established by FDEP and shall be reviewed annually by EPA.
FDEP may delegate the State 404 Permit Program to State governmental agencies in Florida, but will maintain oversight and will retain the ability to revise or rescind permits issued by the delegated entities.
We are now getting closer to a decision to see if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will transfer the permitting to The Florida Department of Environmental Protection. They are accepting public comments through Nov. 2. They expect to decide by mid-December 2020.
The 404 Assumption in Florida will result in streamlined permitting, however, we are hopeful that environmental standards will continue to be upheld to its highest regards. With over 3 years in the making, we encourage FDEP to create a State 404 Assumption rule that works well and is compliant with the requirements of the Clean Water Act.
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