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Environment

House starts review of water permit process

By Regan McCarthy

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-987496.mp3

Tallahssee, FL – The House Committee on Water Policy is considering a change to how long water use permits should last. Right now, a typical permit is for 20 years, but Regan McCarthy reports the committee is considering extending that to a maximum of 50 years.

Water use permits give a company the right to use a certain amount of water until their permit expires. Department of Environmental Protection officials say in some cases that can be just 5 or 10 years. Representative Paige Kreegel says that's not enough time for a permit holder to get a return on his or her investment.

"What would a farmer do after planning a grove and he hits a five year permit and there's been some salt water intrusion and he's just now got to the point where it's just about break even no profit yet and he doesn't get his consumptive use permit. Is he just to say well it's a bad day'?"

Representatives for the state's utility companies echo the same concerns. A DEP spokeswoman says the state works in these cases to find alternative sources of water to keep a company's investment from being useless.