Commissioner Nikki Fried Calls on EPA to Regain Federal Control of Wetland Licensing Program Transferred to FDEP by Trump Administration / Press Releases 2022 / Press Releases / News & Events / Home

Tallahassee, Florida. – Today, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Friedindependently elected member of the Florida cabinet, calls the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overturn the Trump administration’s decision to transfer licensing authority for Florida’s wetlands from the federal government to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

In+frit’s+letter+to+EPA+on+wetland+permits+5.11.22.pdf” target=”_blank” title=”letter | opens in a new tab”>letter[ ] today at the EPA, Commissioner Fried wrote“I have always warned that this transfer of federal authority would seriously threaten Florida’s ecology and environment. Unfortunately, I was right to worry: the Florida legislature has now passed industry-backed legislation that has created a fast track for wetland destruction by allowing energy companies to review and accelerate environmental resource permit. This bill will be catastrophic for Florida’s environment if it becomes law, and it is imperative that we do everything, both state and federal, to prevent companies from endorsing their own plans to destroy our wetlands.

“As Republicans in the Florida Legislature focus more on profiting from the destruction of our precious environmental resources, your agency and the Biden administration can help by taking this step to protect our wetlands and reduce what has become a deeply corrupt payment system. game process in our state”, she continued.

Background: In December 2020, the EPA ceded its authority under the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 program for licensing in protected wetlands to the state of Florida, a move in the administration’s final months. Trump that has weakened protections for sensitive wetlands and has been widely criticized by the environment. groups and opponents in thousands of public comments. Commissioner Fried previously submitted testimony opposing the action and raising serious environmental concerns at EPA public hearings prior to the Trump administration’s decision.

The full text of the letter is available Fried+Letter+to+EPA+on+Wetlands+Permitting+5.11.22.pdf”>here[ application/pdf ] and lower.

May 11, 2022

The Honorable Michael S. Regan

Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20460

Regan Administrator:

I am writing to you today to urgently call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse the Trump administration’s decision to transfer licensing authority for Florida’s wetlands from the federal government. at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

As I have shared with you before, I strongly oppose this decision and continue to call for its immediate reversal. I have joined environmental groups and thousands of individuals in submitting public comments against the EPA’s transfer of its authority under the Clean Water Act Section 404 program for permitting in wetlands. protected areas to the State of Florida as envisioned in 2020. I have always warned that this ceding of federal authority would seriously threaten Florida’s ecology and environment. Unfortunately, I was right to worry: the Florida legislature has now passed industry-backed legislation that has created a fast track for wetland destruction by allowing energy companies to review and accelerate environmental resource permit. This bill will be catastrophic for Florida’s environment if it becomes law, and it is imperative that we do everything, both state and federal, to prevent companies from endorsing their own plans to destroy our wetlands.

Transferring oversight of these permits from the federal government to the state has already proven to be a disaster. There is a significant backlog in applications as the process has now moved “from a highly regulated application process that included federal oversight of endangered species to one run by a short-staffed, underfunded unit and untrained dealing with a record number of requests it cannot keep up with,” according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel. As I have warned before, it is clear that the FDEP is understaffed, under-resourced, under-trained , budget and staff to successfully run this critically important program Unfortunately, it seems they also lack the desire to actually protect the environment, despite the name of their agency.

Our wetlands already face serious risks from climate change and have suffered massive losses in recent decades, and we must take immediate action to protect these natural resources. As Republicans in the Florida Legislature focus more on profiting from the destruction of our precious environmental resources, your agency and the Biden administration can help by taking this step to protect our wetlands and reduce what has become a land. -to-play deeply corrupted. process in our state. I strongly urge you to reverse the mistaken and harmful decision of the Trump administration by restoring the EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 404 authority to permit protected wetlands in the state of Florida as soon as possible. before more environmental destruction occurs under FDEP watch.

On behalf of the people of Florida and our precious natural resources, thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Fried

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

###

Comments are closed.