Late-filed amendment bars local fertilizer regs until 2016by George Bennett | April 24th, 2013
Breaking environmental regulatory news from our Christine Stapleton:
A late-filed amendment to a swiftly moving environmental regulation bill (HB 999) would block communities from regulating fertilizer-use on lawns until 2016 and would create a 15-member Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council to perform “a comprehensive review of existing scientific data relating to the environmental fate of nutrients in urban settings.”
The Council must complete its review by Jan. 15, 2016. Until then, “local governments may not adopt new ordinances to regulate non-agricultural fertilizer or its use.”
Local restrictions on the use and sale of fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus have become increasingly popular since Sarasota County became the first community to enact such rules in 2007. Polk, Manatee and Pinellas counties also have restrictions, along with Tampa.
Rockledge, in Brevard County, adopted a fertilizer ordinance on March 20 that bans the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus between June 1 and September 30. However, the amendment filed on Tuesday bars local ordinances adopted after March 4, 2013 from being enforced until July 1, 2016.
The amendment was filed on Tuesday – just before the amendment filing deadline – by state Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, a vegetable and fruit grower in Hillsborough County. Lithia is also the headquarters of Mosiac, “the world’s leading producer of phosphate and potash fertilizers,” according to the company’s website.
The proposed council will focus on non-agriculture fertilizer use, such as lawns and golf courses, and its members will represent a wide range of stakeholders, with one representative for each of the following interests: the Department of Environmental Protection; the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; a water management district; the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and the Florida Water Institute; the retail industry; a pest-control trade association; the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association; the fertilizer industry; landscape and lawn-care trade association; the Florida League of Cities; Florida Association of Counties; Florida Stormwater Association; and a water quality scientists.
The environmental community would have one seat on the Council.
Raburn’s amendment was adopted on Wednesday and a final vote on the bill could occur this week. A similar amendment has not been added to the companion bill in the Senate.