FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

1000 Friends of Florida statement on Florida taking control of issuing 404 dredge and fill permits

1000 Friends of Florida
Press Release
December 23, 2020

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Florida sole authority to approve or deny permits to dump dredged or fill material into wetlands or waterways. Issuance of these permits had previously been overseen by federal agencies. Florida is just one of three states granted this authority, and just the first to receive it since 1994. In granting the authority, the EPA defied overwhelming opposition expressed in public comments submitted by Florida citizens and conservation organizations, including 1000 Friends of Florida.

In response, 1000 Friends President Paul Owens issued the following statement:

We are deeply disappointed that the EPA has made this misguided and shortsighted decision. It removes a critical layer of protection in Florida for wetlands, which cleanse and recharge our water supply, reduce flooding, provide wildlife habitat and mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and climate change. Wetlands are an essential component of a healthy environment in Florida, a state whose economy depends on that healthy environment. The EPA’s decision will create considerable regulatory uncertainty over dredge and fill permitting. It will leave in charge state agencies that are more vulnerable to pressure from development interests, and whose staff and budgets have suffered deep cuts over the past decade. Now, more cuts are looming as Florida faces a $5 billion budget shortfall. The timing on the EPA’s decision couldn’t be worse.

Paul Owens, President
1000 Friends of Florida

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