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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 403
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
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F.S. 403.4154
403.4154 Phosphogypsum management program.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.
(b) “Existing stack” means a phosphogypsum stack, as defined in paragraph (d), that is:
1. In existence in this state on May 12, 1993; or
2. Constructed in this state after May 12, 1993, and for which the department has received a certification of completion of construction submitted by the owner of the newly constructed phosphogypsum stack.

The term “existing stack” does not include a phosphogypsum stack that has been closed pursuant to a department permit or order.

(c) “Phosphogypsum” means calcium sulfate and byproducts produced by the reaction of sulfuric acid with phosphate rock to produce phosphoric acid.
(d) “Phosphogypsum stack” means any defined geographic area associated with a phosphoric acid production facility in which phosphogypsum is disposed of or stored, other than within a fully enclosed building, container, or tank.
(e) “Phosphogypsum stack system” means the phosphogypsum stack, pile, or landfill, together with all pumps, piping, ditches, drainage conveyances, water-control structures, collection pools, cooling ponds, surge ponds, and any other collection or conveyance system associated with the transport of phosphogypsum from the plant to the phosphogypsum stack, its management at the stack, and the process-wastewater return to the phosphoric acid production or other process. This definition specifically includes toe drain systems and ditches and other leachate collection systems but does not include conveyances within the confines of the fertilizer production plant or existing areas used in emergency circumstances caused by rainfall events of high volume or duration for the temporary storage of process wastewater to avoid discharges to surface waters of the state, which process wastewater must be removed from the temporary storage area as expeditiously as possible, but not to exceed 120 days after each emergency.
(f) “Process wastewater” means any water that, during manufacturing or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material, intermediate product, finished product, byproduct, or waste product, along with any leachate or runoff from the phosphogypsum stack system. This term does not include contaminated nonprocess wastewater as that term is defined in 40 C.F.R. s. 418.11(c).
(2) REGULATORY PROGRAM.
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department develop a program for the sound and effective regulation of phosphogypsum stack systems in the state.
(b) The department shall adopt rules that prescribe acceptable construction designs for new or expanded phosphogypsum stack systems and that prescribe permitting criteria for operation, long-term-care requirements, and closure financial responsibility requirements for phosphogypsum stack systems.
(c) Whoever willfully, knowingly, or with reckless indifference or gross carelessness misstates or misrepresents the financial condition or closure costs of an entity engaged in managing, owning, or operating a phosphogypsum stack or stack system commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 by a fine of not more than $50,000 and by imprisonment for 5 years for each offense.
(d) If an owner or operator of a phosphogypsum stack or stack system fails to comply with department rules requiring demonstration of closure financial responsibility, no distribution may be made which would be prohibited under s. 607.06401(3) until the noncompliance is corrected. Whoever willfully, knowingly, or with reckless indifference or gross carelessness violates this prohibition commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 by a fine of not more than $50,000 or by imprisonment for 5 years for each offense.
(3) ABATEMENT OF IMMINENT HAZARD.
(a) The department may take action to abate or substantially reduce any imminent hazard caused by the physical condition, maintenance, operation, or closure of a phosphogypsum stack system.
(b) An imminent hazard exists if the physical condition, maintenance, operation, or closure of a phosphogypsum stack system creates an immediate and substantial danger to human health, safety, or welfare or to the environment. A phosphogypsum stack system is presumed not to cause an imminent hazard if the physical condition and operation of the system are in compliance with all applicable department rules.
(c) The failure of an owner or operator of a phosphogypsum stack system to comply with department rules requiring demonstration of closure financial responsibility may be considered by the department as evidence that a phosphogypsum stack poses an imminent hazard for purposes of initiating actions authorized by paragraph (d).
(d) If the department determines that the failure of an owner or operator to comply with department rules requiring demonstration of financial responsibility or that the physical condition, maintenance, operation, or closure of a phosphogypsum stack system poses an imminent hazard, the department shall request access to the property on which such stack system is located from the owner or operator of the stack system for the purposes of taking action to abate or substantially reduce the imminent hazard. If the department, after reasonable effort, is unable to timely obtain the necessary access to abate or substantially reduce the imminent hazard, the department may institute action in its own name, using the procedures and remedies of s. 403.121 or s. 403.131, to abate or substantially reduce an imminent hazard. Whenever serious harm to human health, safety, or welfare, to the environment, or to private or public property may occur prior to completion of an administrative hearing or other formal proceeding that might be initiated to abate the risk of serious harm, the department may obtain from the court, ex parte, an injunction without paying filing and service fees prior to the filing and service of process.
(e) To abate or substantially reduce an imminent hazard, the department may take any appropriate action, including, but not limited to, using employees of the department or contracting with other state or federal agencies, with private third-party contractors, or with the owner or operator of the stack system, or financing, compensating, or funding a receiver, trustee, or owner of the stack system, to perform all or part of the work.
(f) The department shall recover from the owner or operator of the phosphogypsum stack system to the use of the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund all moneys expended from the fund, including funds expended prior to the effective date of this section, to abate an imminent hazard posed by the phosphogypsum stack system plus a penalty equal to an amount calculated at 30 percent of such funds expended. This penalty shall be imposed annually, and prorated from the date of payment from the fund until the expended funds and the penalty are repaid. If the department prevails in any action to recover funds pursuant to this subsection, it may recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred. Phosphogypsum may not be deposited on a stack until all moneys expended from the fund in connection with the stack have been repaid, unless the department determines that such placement is necessary to abate or avoid an imminent hazard or unless otherwise authorized by the department.
(g) The department may impose a lien on the real property on which the phosphogypsum stack system that poses an imminent hazard is located and on the real property underlying and other assets located at associated phosphate fertilizer production facilities equal in amount to the moneys expended from the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund pursuant to paragraph (e), including attorney’s fees and court costs. The owner of any property on which such a lien is imposed is entitled to a release of the lien upon payment to the department of the lien amount. The lien imposed by this section does not take priority over any other prior perfected lien on the real property, personal property, or other assets referenced in this paragraph, including, but not limited to, the associated phosphate rock mine and reserves.
(h) Upon a declaration by the Governor of an environmental emergency concerning the abatement of an imminent hazard involving a phosphogypsum stack or stack system, the state and any agent under contract with the state for the provision of services directly related to the abatement of such hazard shall not become liable under state laws for environmental protection for any costs, damages, or penalties associated with the abatement of the imminent hazard. The Legislature finds that provision of this limited immunity is in the public interest and necessary for the abatement of the imminent hazard.
(4) REGISTRATION FEES.
(a)1. The owner or operator of each existing phosphogypsum stack who has not provided a performance bond, letter of credit, trust fund agreement, or closure insurance to demonstrate financial responsibility for closure and long-term care shall pay to the department a fee as set forth in this paragraph. All fees shall be deposited in the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund.
2. The amount of the fee for each existing stack shall be $75,000 for each of the five 12-month periods following July 1, 2001.
3. The amount of the fee for any new stack for which the owner or operator has not provided a performance bond, letter of credit, trust fund agreement, or closure insurance to demonstrate financial responsibility for closure and long-term care shall be $75,000 for each of the five 12-month periods following the issuance by the department of a construction permit for that stack.
4. Within 30 days after a phosphogypsum stack has been certified as closed pursuant to rule 62-673.620(2) and (3), Florida Administrative Code, the department shall refund to the owner of the closed phosphogypsum stack an amount from the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund equal to the total amount of fee payments made by the owner or operator to the fund in connection with the closed phosphogypsum stack. However, a refund may not be paid until the Mulberry and Piney Point phosphogypsum stack systems have been closed and a satisfactory reserve has been established in the Nonmandatory Reclamation Lands Trust Fund.
(b) On or before August 1 of each year, the department shall provide written notice to each owner of an existing stack of any fee payable for the 12-month period commencing on the immediately preceding July 1. Each owner shall remit the fee to the department on or before August 31 of each year.
(5) CLOSURE OF ABANDONED SYSTEMS.
(a) The department may expend money from the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund to take all steps necessary to close a phosphogypsum stack system and to carry out postclosure care in accordance with department rules in effect as of the date of commencement of closure activities, subject to the conditions set forth in this subsection. To accomplish such closure and postclosure care, the department may take any appropriate action, including, but not limited to, using employees of the department or by contracting with other state or federal agencies, with private third-party contractors, or with the owner or operator of the stack system, to perform all or part of the work.
(b) The department may close a phosphogypsum stack system through agreement with the owner or by court order. In determining whether closure is appropriate, the court shall consider whether closing the stack will protect human health, safety, or welfare or the environment; the useful life of the stack; the effect of delaying closure on the stability of the fund; the likelihood that the stack will be operated again; and any other relevant factors. If the court finds that closure is appropriate, the court may appoint a receiver to oversee the closure or shall authorize department employees, agents, and contractors to enter all land owned by the owner of the phosphogypsum stack system for the performance of closure and postclosure activities.
(c) The department may impose a lien on the real property on which a closed phosphogypsum stack system is located and on the real property underlying and other assets located at its formerly associated phosphate fertilizer production facilities equal in amount to the moneys expended from the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund pursuant to this subsection for closure and postclosure care. The owner of any property on which such a lien is imposed is entitled to a release of the lien upon payment to the department of the lien amount and execution of an agreement to carry out postclosure care in accordance with applicable department rules. The lien imposed by this section does not take priority over any other prior perfected lien on the real property, personal property, or other assets referenced in this paragraph, including, but not limited to, the associated phosphate rock mine and reserves.
History.s. 62, ch. 93-207; s. 382, ch. 94-356; s. 3, ch. 2001-134; s. 8, ch. 2003-423; s. 64, ch. 2005-2.