Sens. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Congressman Aaron Bean Introduce Bill to Codify Florida Permitting Program

April 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced a bill to codify and protect the State of Florida’s Clean Water Act dredge and fill permitting program and to clarify the law to protect regulatory certainty. In 2020, Senator Rick Scott applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This designation eliminates duplicity in permitting and helps protect Florida’s environment by allowing Florida to follow the state’s permitting program standards, which are just as stringent, if not more so, than what is currently in place on the federal level. The bill would also codify the dredge and fill permitting programs administered by the States of Michigan and New Jersey, and clarify the law so that other states may successfully navigate the process to assume this authority.


In 2020, the State of Florida assumed Clean Water Act permitting authorities pursuant to procedures provided within the Clean Water Act, restoring the power of Floridians to decide permitting matters that affect them the most. During his time as Governor of Florida, Senator Rick Scott signed legislation to request this designation from the federal government.


Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida has unique waterways and natural resources that shouldn’t be regulated by a one-size-fits-all federal structure. This bill protects Florida’s Clean Water Act permitting authorities that I fought for as Governor and secured as Senator under the prior administration, and ensures our state has the power to make the best decisions for Floridians while protecting our natural resources for future generations.”


Senator Marco Rubio said, “The federal government should seek to delegate authority to the states whenever it can, especially when the procedures are clearly provided in law. My bill would codify the State of Florida’s Clean Water Act permitting program, consistent with Congressional intent, to ensure permitting decisions affecting Florida are made by Floridians, not by one-size-fits-all Washington bureaucrats.”


U.S. Representative Aaron Bean (R-FL) will introduce companion legislation in the House. 


Congressman Aaron Bean said, “The ability for states to take the lead in regulating their natural resources is vital, especially in the Sunshine State. Florida’s 404 permitting program remains essential for protecting our iconic wildlife and valued wetlands, while reducing wasteful duplication and improving responsiveness to applicants and the communities’ projects they serve.”