Florida — home to the Everglades and sprawling wetlands, marshes and bogs — wants to become the third state in history to take over the federal government’s job of overseeing wetland and water permitting under the Clean Water Act.
Environmental groups in the Sunshine State warn such a handover could pull back critical federal oversight for fragile ecosystems.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis submitted a request to EPA Region 4 this summer, asking for the agency to grant the Florida Department of Environmental Protection permission to take over the Section 404 program.
Developers of real estate, energy projects, agricultural activities, shoreline restoration and even boat ramps use the program to obtain permits for discharging dredge or fill material into wetlands and streams that fall under federal jurisdiction. Developers of projects that affect state and federal jurisdictional wetlands or surface waters must currently obtain both a state permit and a Section