State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, added an amendment to a rulemaking bill that would make it more difficult for members of the public to challenge environmental permits. #
Environmentalists said the provision was the most objectionable part of a massive environmental permitting bill passed by the House without questions or debate a the end of an all-day session on Friday. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, the sponsor of House Bill 991, allowed an amendment by Rep. Mark Pafford, D-Lake Worth, that stripped the provision. Now the House will have another chance to approve the changes. #
Bennett said the provision had been called for by the Department of Environmental Protection, and that it would stem the flow of “frivolous” citizen complaints that were driving companies out of Florida. #
Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, tried to amend Bennett’s provision, warning that the amendment would roll back decades of environmental law, but was shot down in a voice vote. The changes were approved, 35-3. #
In a motion filed yesterday, state Sen. Arthenia Joyner and state Reps. Janet Cruz, Luis Garcia, Joe Gibbons and Perry Thurston (all Democrats) have asked to join the lawsuit challenging Amendment 6 — one of the two Fair Districts amendments that limit the legislature's power to gerrymander districts — in order to defend it.