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Senators Back Increased Pollution Notice

Suzanne Young
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

After a pair of high-profile incidents last year, the Senate is moving forward with a bill that would require increased public notice when pollution is released.

The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday unanimously approved the bill (SB 532), which Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano filed after controversy last year about pollution incidents involving a sinkhole at a phosphate plant in Polk County and sewage discharges into Tampa Bay.

Under the bill, owners or operators of facilities responsible for pollution would be required to submit reports within 24 hours to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The department, in turn, would be required to post the information online within 24 hours and create a subscription system for people to receive the notices.

The bill, which lists a series of types of pollution releases that would need to be reported, also unanimously passed the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee this month. But a House version (HB 1065) has not been heard in committees.