Florida has become the first state in more than two decades to assume delegation of the federal permitting program to regulate the discharge of dredged or filled material into wetlands and other waters of the United States, commonly known as the 404 Program. Florida is now one of three states with delegated authority from the Environmental Protection Agency to assume the responsibility for permitting such projects.
Becker attorney and former state representative Katie Edwards-Walpole was an early pioneer in this tremendous effort. She shepherded the passage of legislation in 2016 allowing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to seek delegation, in addition to assumption, of federal permitting programs regulating the discharge of dredged or fill material pursuant to the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. From there, state and federal regulators worked diligently to ensure that DEP could process these permits efficiently and expeditiously without compromising environmental protections.
“I have seen major environmental projects slowed and delayed for years because of the length of time needed to process 404 Permits,” said Edwards-Walpole. “I applaud this DEP-EPA agreement that was years in the making, and I’m proud to have played a role in making Florida a national leader in our approach to environmental permitting and government efficiency.”