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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 377
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F.S. 377.371
377.371 Pollution prohibited; reporting, liability.
(1) A person drilling for or producing oil, gas, or other petroleum products, or storing gas in a natural gas storage facility, may not pollute land or water; damage aquatic or marine life, wildlife, birds, or public or private property; or allow any extraneous matter to enter or damage any mineral or freshwater-bearing formation.
(2) All spills or leakage of oil, gas, other petroleum products, or waste material shall be reported to the division and those of any quantity which cannot be immediately controlled shall be reported immediately to the division and the appropriate federal agencies.
(3) Because it is the intent of this chapter to provide the means for rapid and effective cleanup and to minimize damages resulting from pollution in violation of this chapter, if the waters of the state are polluted by the drilling, storage of natural gas, or production operations of any person or persons and such pollution damages or threatens to damage human, animal, or plant life, public or private property, or any mineral or water-bearing formation, said person shall be liable to the state for all costs of cleanup or other damage incurred by the state. In any suit to enforce claims of the state under this chapter, it is not necessary for the state to plead or prove negligence in any form or manner on the part of the person or persons conducting the drilling or production operations; the state need only plead and prove the fact of the prohibited discharge or other polluting condition and that it occurred at the facilities of the person or persons conducting the drilling or production operation. A person or persons conducting the drilling, storage, or production operation may not be held liable if said person or persons prove that the prohibited discharge or other polluting condition was the result of any of the following:
(a) An act of war.
(b) An act of government, either state, federal, or municipal.
(c) An act of God, which means an unforeseeable act exclusively occasioned by the violence of nature without the interference of any human agency.
(d) An act or omission of a third party without regard to whether any such act or omission was or was not negligent.
(4) Any person who is found liable for damages or costs of cleanup as provided in this section shall not be liable for penalties under the provisions of chapter 376 or chapter 403.
History.s. 8, ch. 72-394; s. 23, ch. 2013-205.