BMAP petition letters including from a Florida state springs expert

Unlike FDEP’s BMAP plans, “When a new building code is final in Florida, [Rusty] Payton [CEO, Florida Home Builders Association] said, “there’s always six months between the final rule and the date the rule takes effect.” Because of his organization’s petition for more time to file a protest, none of Florida’s new Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) have gone into effect yet, which gives spring and river advocates (and FDEP) more time to try to fix them.

Dinah Voyles Pulver, Daily Commercial, 30 July 2018, Groups protest new Florida springs action plans,

A sweeping effort to adopt action plans to improve water quality in 13 springs systems across the state is on hold after a dozen groups and individuals asked to intervene with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, including one of the department’s own springs experts.

Thomas Greenhalgh, a hydrogeologist with the department’s Florida Geological Survey, is one of two people who asked for an administrative hearing on one of the 13 “basin management action plans” signed by Noah Valenstein in late June.

Suiting up, Thomas Greenhalgh
Thomas Greenhalgh suiting up before releasing dye into the Dead River of the Alapaha River to go into the Dead River Sink, 2016-06-22, Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

“There are many claims and statements in the BMAP that I believe are inaccurate and unsubstantiated,” wrote Greenhalgh in seeking a state hearing on the plan for the Suwannee River, where he owns property.

He’s not alone.

In addition to the protests listed in the article, WWALS filed one (see below).

See also the BMAP letter I sent FDEP 4 June 2016, to which I got no reply. And the Florida Springs Council letter.

More from the article:

The rush to get the plans approved and adopted was a sore spot with almost all the groups.

“They weren’t adopted or finalized until two or three days prior to the effective date (July 1),” said Rusty Payton, the chief executive officer for the Florida Home Builders Association. “We really had no capability to educate our members.”

When a new building code is final in Florida, Payton said, “there’s always six months between the final rule and the date the rule takes effect.”…

Because the statewide builders association asked for more time to review all 13 plans, none of the plans went into effect as scheduled on July 1. They’re all on hold until the department can review the requests for hearing and time extensions and set a course forward.

Releasing dye, Thomas Greenhalgh
Thomas Greenhalgh releasing dye into the Dead River 2016-06-22. The dye travelled underground about 20 miles before coming up days later in the Alapaha Rise on the Suwannee River. Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Greenhalgh and [St. Petersburg Attorney John] Thomas said the best management practices for agriculture incorporated into the plans aren’t effective at removing nitrogen. Greenhalgh wants the department to admit it and formulate a plan that will address the nitrogen pollution in the springs.

Thomas contends DEP employees “want to do the right thing, but the Legislature only gives them so much money and authority and the executive only gives them so much leash.”

Department officials “are pretending they can get this done in 20 years with no new authority,” he said. “But it’s not going to happen. When they look at it rationally, I’m sure they’re terribly daunted.”

And if FDEP is daunted, maybe it will welcome more time to try to do it right.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

WWALS Request for Extension of Time to File Petition for Formal Administrative Procedures

See also PDF.


BEFORE THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

RE: Suwannee River

Basin Management Action Plan                DEP OGC No . 17-1165            

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— WWALS REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME

TO FILE PETITION FOR FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

 

        Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code Rules 28-106.111(3) and/or 62-110.106(4), WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS, Petitioner ) hereby requests an extension of time to file a petition to initiate administrative proceedings regarding the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan, and states:

        1.        The Department of Environmental Protection ( Department ) e-mailed notice to Stakeholders and posted an online notice that, pursuant to Section 403.067, F.S., a Secretarial Order was entered on June 29, 2018 adopting the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan ( BMAP ) .

        2.        According to the Notice, the Department adopted 13 B MAPs, “establishing a long-term roadmap to restoration for 24 Outstanding Florida Springs” on June 29, 2018. The Suwannee River BMAP identifies the projects and management actions necessary to achieve the nutrient (Nitrogen) Total Maximum Daily Load ( TMDL ) for [the subject] water bodies.

        3.        The Suwannee River BMAP was developed as part of the Department’s TMDL Program as required by the Florida Watershed Restoration Act, Section 403.067, Florida Statutes. The Final Order has been assigned OGC Case No. 17-1165 . The Final Order indicates “A person whose substantial interests are affected by the department’s proposed agency action may petition for an administrative proceeding (hearing) under Section 120.569 and 120.57 of the Florida Statutes.”

        4.        Petitioner WWALS Watershed Coalition Florida, Inc. (WWALS) is a Florida not-for-profit corporation whose principal address is 207 WEST PARK AVE SUITE A , Tallahassee, FL 32301 . Petitioner’s phone number is 850-290-2350.

        5.        Petitioner’s mission is: WWALS Watershed Coalition advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. WWALS as Suwannee RIVERKEEPER ® is the Member of the WATERKEEPER ® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin, the eyes, ears, and voice for this watershed, for swimmable, fishable, and drinkable water. Petitioner ’s members do use and enjoy the water resources of the Suwannee River Basin for recreational, educational, vocational and artistic purposes.

        6.        Florida Administrative Code Rule 28-106.111(3), provides that an agency may, for good cause shown, grant a request for an extension of time for filing an initial pleading.

        7.        Florida Administrative Code Rule 62-110.106 (4) similarly authorizes enlargement of the t ime to file a petition “for good cause shown.”

      8 .         Petitioners have not had enough time to thoroughly evaluate the BMAP, complete related investigations, and necessary administrative processes to determine whether a challenge to the BMAP is indicated.

        9.        Petitioner WWALS filed comments and requests with Secretary Noah Valenstein and Suwannee River Basin Coordinator Terry Hansen, both of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, on June 4, 2018, and Petitioner WWALS has received no response. Petitioners anticipated a Department response to comments, questions and suggestions submitted by Petitioners, other stakeholders and others during the comment period. Petitioners would avail an opportunity to discuss the Department’s plans. Without a Department explanation, Petitioners lack information regarding these matters and require additional time and information.

        10 .         Petitioners also rely on the assistance of professionals who provide support to the efforts of the Florida Springs Council and other springs-related interest groups; and the Department ’s simultaneous adoption, only one day before the statutory deadline, of 13 BMAPs for Outstanding Florida Springs causes Petitioner’s access to such assistance to be diminished; and Petitioner’s inquiries and analysis to be slowed.

11.         The Department informed Petitioner that Florida Home Builders Association ( FHBA ) has requested an extension of time to file a petition regarding all 13 OFS BMAPs. Petitioner understands the request is based on the incompleteness of rule-making regarding septic system upgrades. Petitioner should be given the opportunity to participate with FHBA in further proceedings related to the related rule-making. A concomitant extension would be appropriate.

        12.        Petitioners seek an extension until at least August 17, 2018 to submit a timely petition in this matter.

     1 3 .         No person will be prejudiced by the granting of this request, but Petitioners may be severely prejudiced by denial of

this request.

        14.        In the event the Department does not grant this request in whole or in part, Petitioner requests 10 business days from the date of such order to file a petition challenging the Suwannee River BMAP.

        15.        Petitioner, through counsel, communicated by e-mail with counsel for the Department regarding this request for extension of time . Counsel indicated the Department would consider the request and explanation of good cause and would respond. Petitioner is not able to state further the Department’s position regarding Petitioner’s request for extension.

 

     WHEREFORE, Petitioner requests the Department of Environmental Protection grant Petitioner’s Request For

Extension of Time to File Petition for Administrative Proceedings and allow Petitioner an extension of time to at least August 17, 2018 or to the date to which FHBA’s filing date is extended, whichever is greater .

                     Certificate of Service

     I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the fore-

going was furnished by electronic mail to the parties below on

this 23rd day of July, 2018 .

 

                               

___________________________________
John R. Thomas, Esq.
Florida Bar No. 868043
246 19th Avenue NE

St. Petersburg, FL 33704

jrthomasesq@gmail.com

Counsel for Petitioners


 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *