"DeSantis Takeover of Wetland Permits Erects New Building Hurdles"

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, determined to untangle housing, mines, and other development from time-consuming environmental reviews, asked the Trump administration in its closing months to let the state take over permits for building on federal wetlands from the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers.

Allowed under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act but only done by two other states, the takeover was a big bet that states can both streamline development and better control water pollution than the federal government can. It has provided an early window into how DeSantis might view environmental regulation as president if he decides to run.

But two and a half years into the state takeover, it isn’t yet the deregulatory panacea state officials and the EPA had hoped for.

A 10,000-unit housing development, a huge proposed limestone mine, and more than 1,700 other proposals are moving rapidly through the state process. Environmental groups say they’ve been stripped of legal and regulatory tools to protect what remains of the state’s wildlife-rich swamps and habitat for the 200 or so remaining endangered Florida panthers."

Bobby Magill reports for Bloomberg Environment April 18, 2023.

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 04/18/2023