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What does complying with environmental permitting requirements entail? 

Complying with permit requirements in Florida involves navigating a complex set of state and federal laws and regulations. These environmental permits are critical in protecting Florida’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. They ensure proper management and restoration of impacted areas and prevent further degradation.

For example, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) enforces the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) program, which regulates wetland activities and other surface water systems. Additionally, Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of dredged or filled material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. In another instance, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects imperiled species and their habitats. Under the ESA, permits are required for activities that may affect listed species, such as development projects or land management practices.

Need help complying with environmental permitting requirements? Schedule your consultation today with a top environmental law attorney.

Which laws and regulations apply to complying with environmental permitting requirements in Florida?

Several Florida and federal laws and regulations apply to environmental permitting. For wetlands and land disturbances, Florida’s Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) program is governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 373 and Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Chapter 62-330. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers Section 404 permits under the Clean Water Act at the federal level.

Hazardous waste management is regulated under Florida’s Hazardous Waste Management Program, established by F.A.C. Chapter 62-730 and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In addition, stormwater management is addressed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, regulated by the FDEP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Air quality permitting in Florida is governed by F.A.C. Chapter 62-210, while the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) sets national air quality standards. In addition, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects listed species and their habitats, with permitting requirements administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Finally, brownfield site redevelopment is regulated under the Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Program, established by Florida Statutes Chapter 376 and F.A.C. Chapter 62-785.

What are the strategic benefits of complying with environmental permitting requirements?

The following strategic benefits arise from complying with permit requirements:

  • Reduced legal risks: Complying with environmental regulations helps businesses avoid costly fines, lawsuits, and potential shutdowns resulting from noncompliance.
  • Improved public image: Demonstrating a commitment to protecting the environment and adhering to regulations enhances a company’s reputation and builds trust with customers and stakeholders.
  • Streamlined operations: Compliance processes, such as obtaining permits and conducting assessments, can identify potential issues early, allowing businesses to address them proactively and efficiently.
  • Increased property value: Proper environmental management can maintain or enhance property values by mitigating contamination risks and safeguarding the land’s ecological health.
  • Access to financial incentives: Compliance may qualify businesses for grants, tax incentives, or other economic benefits associated with environmentally responsible practices.
  • Sustainable growth: Adopting environmentally sound practices helps ensure a business’s long-term success and sustainability by reducing its environmental impact and fostering positive relationships with regulators and the community.

When a set of facts is appropriate for legal intervention, there are many paths a claimant may take. We are value-based attorneys at Jimerson Birr, which means we look at each action with our clients from the point of view of costs and benefits while reducing liability. Then, based on our client’s objectives, we chart a path to seek appropriate remedies.

To determine whether your unique situation may necessitate litigation, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation.

How can real estate developers and businesses comply with environmental permitting requirements effectively?

Based on the circumstances, the following measures may be impactful:

  • Hire qualified experts: Engaging environmental consultants, engineers, or attorneys with experience in environmental regulations can help businesses navigate the complex permitting process and ensure compliance with relevant laws.
  • Conduct thorough environmental assessments: Early identification of potential ecological issues allows businesses to address them proactively and avoid delays or complications related to permitting.
  • Implement best management practices: Adopting industry-standard environmental management practices can minimize environmental impacts and demonstrate a commitment to compliance.
  • Engage with regulatory agencies: Establishing open communication with relevant agencies, such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), can foster positive relationships and streamline the permitting process.
  • Develop a compliance plan: Creating a comprehensive environmental compliance plan, which includes timelines, responsibilities, and contingencies, helps ensure that all necessary permits and approvals are obtained promptly.
  • Monitor and maintain compliance: Regularly reviewing and updating compliance plans, as well as monitoring ongoing operations for potential environmental concerns, helps maintain compliance and address any issues that may arise.

Please contact our office to set up your initial consultation to see what actions or defenses may be available for your unique situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What permits are required for wetland development projects in Florida?

In Florida, wetland development projects often require permits from state and federal agencies. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) typically issues Environmental Resource Permits (ERPs), while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) grants permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. These permits ensure that any project impacting wetlands minimizes environmental harm and adheres to regulatory standards.

  1. How can businesses minimize land disturbance and erosion during construction projects?

Businesses can minimize land disturbance and erosion by implementing best management practices (BMPs) during construction projects. BMPs include stabilizing exposed soils, using silt fences or sediment basins, and controlling stormwater runoff. Additionally, businesses should apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to ensure compliance with stormwater regulations.

  1. What is a brownfield site, and how does Florida’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program help in its redevelopment?

A brownfield site is a property where the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants hinders its reuse or redevelopment. Florida’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program offers incentives, such as tax credits, liability protections, and grants, to encourage the cleanup and redevelopment of these sites. The program aims to revitalize underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment.

Have more questions about an environmental law-related situation?

Crucially, this overview of complying with environmental permitting requirements begins to cover only some of the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances.

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain tireless advocates at every step. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant.

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to schedule a consultation.

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