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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 376
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F.S. 376.021
376.021 Legislative intent with respect to pollution of coastal waters and lands.
(1) The Legislature finds and declares that the highest and best use of the seacoast of the state is as a source of public and private recreation.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that the preservation of this use is a matter of the highest urgency and priority, and that such use can only be served effectively by maintaining the coastal waters, estuaries, tidal flats, beaches, and public lands adjoining the seacoast in as close to a pristine condition as possible, taking into account multiple use accommodations necessary to provide the broadest possible promotion of public and private interests.
(3) The Legislature further finds and declares that:
(a) The transfer of pollutants between vessels, between onshore facilities and vessels, between offshore facilities and vessels, and between terminal facilities within the jurisdiction of the state and state waters is a hazardous undertaking;
(b) Spills, discharges, and escapes of pollutants occurring as a result of procedures involved in the transfer, storage, and transportation of such products pose threats of great danger and damage to the environment of the state, to owners and users of shore front property, to public and private recreation, to citizens of the state and other interests deriving livelihood from marine-related activities, and to the beauty of the Florida coast;
(c) Such hazards have frequently occurred in the past, are occurring now, and present future threats of potentially catastrophic proportions, all of which are expressly declared to be inimical to the paramount interests of the state as herein set forth; and
(d) Such state interests outweigh any economic burdens imposed by the Legislature upon those engaged in transferring pollutants and related activities.
(4) The Legislature intends by the enactment of ss. 376.011-376.21 to exercise the police power of the state by conferring upon the Department of Environmental Protection power to:
(a) Deal with the hazards and threats of danger and damage posed by such transfers and related activities;
(b) Require the prompt containment and removal of pollution occasioned thereby; and
(c) Establish a fund to provide for the inspection and supervision of such activities and guarantee the prompt payment of reasonable damage claims resulting therefrom.
(5) The Legislature further finds and declares that the preservation of the public uses referred to herein is of grave public interest and concern to the state in promoting its general welfare, preventing diseases, promoting health, and providing for the public safety and that the state‚Äôs interest in such preservation outweighs any burdens of liability imposed by the Legislature upon those engaged in transferring pollutants and related activities.
(6) The Legislature further declares that it is the intent of ss. 376.011-376.21 to support and complement applicable provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, specifically those provisions relating to the national contingency plan for removal of pollutants.
History.s. 2, ch. 70-244; s. 2, ch. 74-336; s. 288, ch. 94-356.