Legislator: 'Spill Bill' Would Keep Public Informed

Jan 4, 2017

Lawmakers are vowing to strengthen public notice requirements for toxic spills after an administrative law judge struck down an emergency rule by Governor Rick Scott.

Fertilizer giant Mosaic was criticized for waiting too long to inform the public when a sinkhole opened in a gypsum stack, spilling 250 million gallons of waste into the aquifer.

Scott was responding to fertilizer giant Mosaic’s massive spill into the aquifer, and sewage spills spawned by Hurricane Hermine. Republican Representative Kathleen Peters of Treasure Island says her legislation will use “boil water” notices as a model. 

“It’s amazing how when a water main breaks the media is reporting on that so quickly, and it seems to be quite seamless. And so, can’t we get the same kind of system on a spill if it’s a health issue."

The same business groups that fought Scott’s emergency rule, including Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Association of Realtors, are expected to weigh in.  Peters says she is working with Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on a companion measure.