Florida Senate - 2024                                     SB 480
       By Senator DiCeglie
       18-00388A-24                                           2024480__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to renewable natural gas; amending s.
    3         366.91, F.S.; authorizing a public utility to recover
    4         prudently incurred renewable natural gas
    5         infrastructure project costs through an appropriate
    6         Florida Public Service Commission cost-recovery
    7         mechanism; providing that such costs are not subject
    8         to further actions except under certain circumstances;
    9         specifying eligible renewable natural gas
   10         infrastructure projects; requiring that cost recovery
   11         for such projects be approved by the commission;
   12         providing requirements for the approval determination;
   13         prohibiting cost recovery until a facility is placed
   14         in service; providing that certain other regulatory
   15         accounting rules may apply to such cost recovery;
   16         amending s. 373.807, F.S.; revising the required
   17         contents of a basin management action plan for an
   18         Outstanding Florida Spring to include identification
   19         of certain water quality improvement projects;
   20         amending s. 403.067, F.S.; revising the required
   21         contents of a wastewater treatment plan within a basin
   22         management action plan; amending s. 403.7055, F.S.;
   23         encouraging counties and municipalities to develop
   24         regional solutions to certain energy issues; requiring
   25         the Department of Environmental Protection to provide
   26         guidelines and technical assistance to such counties
   27         and municipalities; amending s. 570.841, F.S.;
   28         authorizing the farm-to-fuel initiative to address the
   29         production and capture of renewable natural gas;
   30         revising the purposes of the department’s statewide
   31         comprehensive information and education program;
   32         reenacting ss. 403.0671(1)(a) and (3) and
   33         403.0673(2)(e) and (f), F.S., relating to basin
   34         management action plan wastewater reports and the
   35         water quality improvement grant program, to
   36         incorporate the amendment made to s. 403.067, F.S., in
   37         references thereto; providing an effective date.
   39  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   41         Section 1. Subsection (10) is added to section 366.91,
   42  Florida Statutes, to read:
   43         366.91 Renewable energy.—
   44         (10)A public utility may recover, through an appropriate
   45  cost-recovery mechanism administered by the commission,
   46  prudently incurred costs for renewable natural gas
   47  infrastructure projects. If the commission determines that such
   48  costs were reasonable and that the project will facilitate
   49  achieving the goals of subsection (1), the commission must deem
   50  the project and associated costs prudent for purposes of cost
   51  recovery and may not further subject the project to disallowance
   52  except for fraud, perjury, or intentional withholding of key
   53  information by the public utility. For purposes of utility cost
   54  recovery under this subsection only, the term “renewable natural
   55  gas” may include a mixture of natural gas and renewable natural
   56  gas. Eligible renewable natural gas projects must be located
   57  within this state. Types of costs eligible for cost recovery
   58  include, but are not limited to, capital investment in projects
   59  necessary to prepare, clean, or otherwise produce renewable
   60  natural gas for pipeline distribution and usage; capital
   61  investment in facilities, including pipelines that are necessary
   62  to inject and deliver renewable natural gas and renewable
   63  natural gas storage facilities; operation and maintenance
   64  expenses associated with any such renewable natural gas
   65  infrastructure projects; and an appropriate return on investment
   66  consistent with that allowed for other utility plants that
   67  provide service to customers. Cost recovery for any renewable
   68  natural gas infrastructure project sought pursuant to this
   69  subsection must be approved by the commission.
   70         (a)In assessing whether cost recovery for a renewable
   71  natural gas infrastructure project is appropriate, the
   72  commission must consider whether the projected costs for such
   73  renewable natural gas infrastructure project are reasonable and
   74  consistent with this subsection.
   75         (b)Recovery of costs incurred by a public utility for a
   76  renewable natural gas project approved for cost recovery under
   77  this subsection may not be allowed until such facility is placed
   78  in service. Upon approval of cost recovery by the commission,
   79  costs incurred before the facility is placed in service may be
   80  deferred on the public utility’s books for recovery once the
   81  facility is in service. This does not preclude application of
   82  any other regulatory accounting rules that are otherwise deemed
   83  appropriate, including, but not limited to, normal recovery of
   84  costs for construction work in progress.
   85         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and subsection
   86  (3) of section 373.807, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   87         373.807 Protection of water quality in Outstanding Florida
   88  Springs.—By July 1, 2016, the department shall initiate
   89  assessment, pursuant to s. 403.067(3), of Outstanding Florida
   90  Springs or spring systems for which an impairment determination
   91  has not been made under the numeric nutrient standards in effect
   92  for spring vents. Assessments must be completed by July 1, 2018.
   93         (1)
   94         (b) A basin management action plan for an Outstanding
   95  Florida Spring must shall be adopted within 2 years after its
   96  initiation and must include, at a minimum:
   97         1. A list of all specific projects and programs identified
   98  to implement a nutrient total maximum daily load;
   99         2. A list of all specific projects identified in any
  100  incorporated onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  101  remediation plan, if applicable;
  102         3. A priority rank for each listed project;
  103         4. For each listed project, a planning level cost estimate
  104  and the estimated date of completion;
  105         5. The source and amount of financial assistance to be made
  106  available by the department, a water management district, or
  107  other entity for each listed project;
  108         6. An estimate of each listed project’s nutrient load
  109  reduction;
  110         7. Identification of each point source or category of
  111  nonpoint sources, including, but not limited to, urban turf
  112  fertilizer, sports turf fertilizer, agricultural fertilizer,
  113  onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, wastewater
  114  treatment facilities, animal wastes, and stormwater facilities.
  115  An estimated allocation of the pollutant load must be provided
  116  for each point source or category of nonpoint sources; and
  117         8. Identification of water quality improvement projects
  118  that can also produce and capture renewable natural gas through
  119  the use of anaerobic digestion or other similar treatment
  120  technologies at wastewater treatment plants, livestock farms,
  121  food production facilities, and organic waste management
  122  operations; and
  123         9. An implementation plan designed with a target to achieve
  124  the nutrient total maximum daily load no more than 20 years
  125  after the adoption of a basin management action plan.
  127  The department shall develop a schedule establishing 5-year, 10
  128  year, and 15-year targets for achieving the nutrient total
  129  maximum daily load. The schedule shall be used to provide
  130  guidance for planning and funding purposes and is exempt from
  131  chapter 120.
  132         (3) As part of a basin management action plan that includes
  133  an Outstanding Florida Spring, the department, relevant local
  134  governments, and relevant local public and private wastewater
  135  utilities shall develop an onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  136  system remediation plan for a spring if the department
  137  determines onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems within a
  138  basin management action plan contribute at least 20 percent of
  139  nonpoint source nitrogen pollution or if the department
  140  determines remediation is necessary to achieve the total maximum
  141  daily load. The plan must identify cost-effective and
  142  financially feasible projects necessary to reduce the nutrient
  143  impacts from onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems and
  144  shall be completed and adopted as part of the basin management
  145  action plan no later than the first 5-year milestone required by
  146  subparagraph (1)(b)9. subparagraph (1)(b)8. The department is
  147  the lead agency in coordinating the preparation of and the
  148  adoption of the plan. The department shall:
  149         (a) Collect and evaluate credible scientific information on
  150  the effect of nutrients, particularly forms of nitrogen, on
  151  springs and springs systems; and
  152         (b) Develop a public education plan to provide area
  153  residents with reliable, understandable information about onsite
  154  sewage treatment and disposal systems and springs.
  156  In addition to the requirements in s. 403.067, the plan must
  157  include options for repair, upgrade, replacement, drainfield
  158  modification, addition of effective nitrogen reducing features,
  159  connection to a central sewerage system, or other action for an
  160  onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or group of systems
  161  within a basin management action plan that contribute at least
  162  20 percent of nonpoint source nitrogen pollution or if the
  163  department determines remediation is necessary to achieve a
  164  total maximum daily load. For these systems, the department
  165  shall include in the plan a priority ranking for each system or
  166  group of systems that requires remediation and shall award funds
  167  to implement the remediation projects contingent on an
  168  appropriation in the General Appropriations Act, which may
  169  include all or part of the costs necessary for repair, upgrade,
  170  replacement, drainfield modification, addition of effective
  171  nitrogen reducing features, initial connection to a central
  172  sewerage system, or other action. In awarding funds, the
  173  department may consider expected nutrient reduction benefit per
  174  unit cost, size and scope of project, relative local financial
  175  contribution to the project, and the financial impact on
  176  property owners and the community. The department may waive
  177  matching funding requirements for proposed projects within an
  178  area designated as a rural area of opportunity under s.
  179  288.0656.
  180         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (7) of section
  181  403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  182         403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum
  183  daily loads.—
  186         (a) Basin management action plans.—
  187         1. In developing and implementing the total maximum daily
  188  load for a waterbody, the department, or the department in
  189  conjunction with a water management district, may develop a
  190  basin management action plan that addresses some or all of the
  191  watersheds and basins tributary to the waterbody. Such plan must
  192  integrate the appropriate management strategies available to the
  193  state through existing water quality protection programs to
  194  achieve the total maximum daily loads and may provide for phased
  195  implementation of these management strategies to promote timely,
  196  cost-effective actions as provided for in s. 403.151. The plan
  197  must establish a schedule implementing the management
  198  strategies, establish a basis for evaluating the plan’s
  199  effectiveness, and identify feasible funding strategies for
  200  implementing the plan’s management strategies. The management
  201  strategies may include regional treatment systems or other
  202  public works, when appropriate, and voluntary trading of water
  203  quality credits to achieve the needed pollutant load reductions.
  204         2. A basin management action plan must equitably allocate,
  205  pursuant to paragraph (6)(b), pollutant reductions to individual
  206  basins, as a whole to all basins, or to each identified point
  207  source or category of nonpoint sources, as appropriate. For
  208  nonpoint sources for which best management practices have been
  209  adopted, the initial requirement specified by the plan must be
  210  those practices developed pursuant to paragraph (c). When
  211  appropriate, the plan may take into account the benefits of
  212  pollutant load reduction achieved by point or nonpoint sources
  213  that have implemented management strategies to reduce pollutant
  214  loads, including best management practices, before the
  215  development of the basin management action plan. The plan must
  216  also identify the mechanisms that will address potential future
  217  increases in pollutant loading.
  218         3. The basin management action planning process is intended
  219  to involve the broadest possible range of interested parties,
  220  with the objective of encouraging the greatest amount of
  221  cooperation and consensus possible. In developing a basin
  222  management action plan, the department shall assure that key
  223  stakeholders, including, but not limited to, applicable local
  224  governments, water management districts, the Department of
  225  Agriculture and Consumer Services, other appropriate state
  226  agencies, local soil and water conservation districts,
  227  environmental groups, regulated interests, and affected
  228  pollution sources, are invited to participate in the process.
  229  The department shall hold at least one public meeting in the
  230  vicinity of the watershed or basin to discuss and receive
  231  comments during the planning process and shall otherwise
  232  encourage public participation to the greatest practicable
  233  extent. Notice of the public meeting must be published in a
  234  newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the
  235  watershed or basin lies at least 5 days, but not more than 15
  236  days, before the public meeting. A basin management action plan
  237  does not supplant or otherwise alter any assessment made under
  238  subsection (3) or subsection (4) or any calculation or initial
  239  allocation.
  240         4. Each new or revised basin management action plan must
  241  include all of the following:
  242         a. The appropriate management strategies available through
  243  existing water quality protection programs to achieve total
  244  maximum daily loads, which may provide for phased implementation
  245  to promote timely, cost-effective actions as provided for in s.
  246  403.151.
  247         b. A description of best management practices adopted by
  248  rule.
  249         c. For the applicable 5-year implementation milestone, a
  250  list of projects that will achieve the pollutant load reductions
  251  needed to meet the total maximum daily load or the load
  252  allocations established pursuant to subsection (6). Each project
  253  must include a planning-level cost estimate and an estimated
  254  date of completion.
  255         d. A list of projects developed pursuant to paragraph (e),
  256  if applicable.
  257         e. The source and amount of financial assistance to be made
  258  available by the department, a water management district, or
  259  other entity for each listed project, if applicable.
  260         f. A planning-level estimate of each listed project’s
  261  expected load reduction, if applicable.
  262         5. The department shall adopt all or any part of a basin
  263  management action plan and any amendment to such plan by
  264  secretarial order pursuant to chapter 120 to implement this
  265  section.
  266         6. The basin management action plan must include 5-year
  267  milestones for implementation and water quality improvement, and
  268  an associated water quality monitoring component sufficient to
  269  evaluate whether reasonable progress in pollutant load
  270  reductions is being achieved over time. An assessment of
  271  progress toward these milestones must shall be conducted every 5
  272  years, and revisions to the plan must shall be made as
  273  appropriate. Any entity with a specific pollutant load reduction
  274  requirement established in a basin management action plan shall
  275  identify the projects or strategies that such entity will
  276  undertake to meet current 5-year pollution reduction milestones,
  277  beginning with the first 5-year milestone for new basin
  278  management action plans, and submit such projects to the
  279  department for inclusion in the appropriate basin management
  280  action plan. Each project identified must include an estimated
  281  amount of nutrient reduction that is reasonably expected to be
  282  achieved based on the best scientific information available.
  283  Revisions to the basin management action plan must shall be made
  284  by the department in cooperation with basin stakeholders.
  285  Revisions to the management strategies required for nonpoint
  286  sources must follow the procedures in subparagraph (c)4. Revised
  287  basin management action plans must be adopted pursuant to
  288  subparagraph 5.
  289         7. In accordance with procedures adopted by rule under
  290  paragraph (9)(c), basin management action plans, and other
  291  pollution control programs under local, state, or federal
  292  authority as provided in subsection (4), may allow point or
  293  nonpoint sources that will achieve greater pollutant reductions
  294  than required by an adopted total maximum daily load or
  295  wasteload allocation to generate, register, and trade water
  296  quality credits for the excess reductions to enable other
  297  sources to achieve their allocation; however, the generation of
  298  water quality credits does not remove the obligation of a source
  299  or activity to meet applicable technology requirements or
  300  adopted best management practices. Such plans must allow trading
  301  between NPDES permittees, and trading that may or may not
  302  involve NPDES permittees, where the generation or use of the
  303  credits involve an entity or activity not subject to department
  304  water discharge permits whose owner voluntarily elects to obtain
  305  department authorization for the generation and sale of credits.
  306         8. The department’s rule relating to the equitable
  307  abatement of pollutants into surface waters does do not apply to
  308  water bodies or waterbody segments for which a basin management
  309  plan that takes into account future new or expanded activities
  310  or discharges has been adopted under this section.
  311         9. In order to promote resilient wastewater utilities, if
  312  the department identifies domestic wastewater treatment
  313  facilities or onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems as
  314  contributors of at least 20 percent of point source or nonpoint
  315  source nutrient pollution or if the department determines
  316  remediation is necessary to achieve the total maximum daily
  317  load, a basin management action plan for a nutrient total
  318  maximum daily load must include the following:
  319         a. A wastewater treatment plan developed by each local
  320  government, in cooperation with the department, the water
  321  management district, and the public and private domestic
  322  wastewater treatment facilities within the jurisdiction of the
  323  local government, which that addresses domestic wastewater. The
  324  wastewater treatment plan must:
  325         (I) Provide for construction, expansion, or upgrades
  326  necessary to achieve the total maximum daily load requirements
  327  applicable to the domestic wastewater treatment facility.
  328         (II) Include the permitted capacity in average annual
  329  gallons per day for the domestic wastewater treatment facility;
  330  the average nutrient concentration and the estimated average
  331  nutrient load of the domestic wastewater; a projected timeline
  332  of the dates by which the construction of any facility
  333  improvements will begin and be completed and the date by which
  334  operations of the improved facility will begin; the estimated
  335  cost of the improvements; any renewable energy opportunities
  336  stemming from the production and capture of renewable natural
  337  gas; and the identity of responsible parties.
  339  The wastewater treatment plan must be adopted as part of the
  340  basin management action plan no later than July 1, 2025. A local
  341  government that does not have a domestic wastewater treatment
  342  facility in its jurisdiction is not required to develop a
  343  wastewater treatment plan unless there is a demonstrated need to
  344  establish a domestic wastewater treatment facility within its
  345  jurisdiction to improve water quality necessary to achieve a
  346  total maximum daily load. A local government is not responsible
  347  for a private domestic wastewater facility’s compliance with a
  348  basin management action plan unless such facility is operated
  349  through a public-private partnership to which the local
  350  government is a party.
  351         b. An onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  352  remediation plan developed by each local government in
  353  cooperation with the department, the Department of Health, water
  354  management districts, and public and private domestic wastewater
  355  treatment facilities.
  356         (I) The onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  357  remediation plan must identify cost-effective and financially
  358  feasible projects necessary to achieve the nutrient load
  359  reductions required for onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  360  systems. To identify cost-effective and financially feasible
  361  projects for remediation of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  362  systems, the local government shall:
  363         (A) Include an inventory of onsite sewage treatment and
  364  disposal systems based on the best information available;
  365         (B) Identify onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems
  366  that would be eliminated through connection to existing or
  367  future central domestic wastewater infrastructure in the
  368  jurisdiction or domestic wastewater service area of the local
  369  government, that would be replaced with or upgraded to enhanced
  370  nutrient-reducing onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems,
  371  or that would remain on conventional onsite sewage treatment and
  372  disposal systems;
  373         (C) Estimate the costs of potential onsite sewage treatment
  374  and disposal system connections, upgrades, or replacements; and
  375         (D) Identify deadlines and interim milestones for the
  376  planning, design, and construction of projects.
  377         (II) The department shall adopt the onsite sewage treatment
  378  and disposal system remediation plan as part of the basin
  379  management action plan no later than July 1, 2025, or as
  380  required for Outstanding Florida Springs under s. 373.807.
  381         10. The installation of new onsite sewage treatment and
  382  disposal systems constructed within a basin management action
  383  plan area adopted under this section, a reasonable assurance
  384  plan, or a pollution reduction plan is prohibited where
  385  connection to a publicly owned or investor-owned sewerage system
  386  is available as defined in s. 381.0065(2)(a). On lots of 1 acre
  387  or less within a basin management action plan adopted under this
  388  section, a reasonable assurance plan, or a pollution reduction
  389  plan where a publicly owned or investor-owned sewerage system is
  390  not available, the installation of enhanced nutrient-reducing
  391  onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems or other wastewater
  392  treatment systems that achieve at least 65 percent nitrogen
  393  reduction is required.
  394         11. When identifying wastewater projects in a basin
  395  management action plan, the department may not require the
  396  higher cost option if it achieves the same nutrient load
  397  reduction as a lower cost option. A regulated entity may choose
  398  a different cost option if it complies with the pollutant
  399  reduction requirements of an adopted total maximum daily load
  400  and meets or exceeds the pollution reduction requirement of the
  401  original project.
  402         12. Annually, local governments subject to a basin
  403  management action plan or located within the basin of a
  404  waterbody not attaining nutrient or nutrient-related standards
  405  must provide to the department an update on the status of
  406  construction of sanitary sewers to serve such areas, in a manner
  407  prescribed by the department.
  408         Section 4. Section 403.7055, Florida Statutes, is amended
  409  to read:
  410         403.7055 Methane and renewable natural gas processing and
  411  capture.—
  412         (1) Each county and municipality is encouraged to develop
  413  form multicounty regional solutions to the processing, capture,
  414  and reuse or sale of methane gas and renewable natural gas as
  415  defined in s. 366.91(2) from landfills and wastewater treatment
  416  facilities.
  417         (2) The department shall provide planning guidelines and
  418  technical assistance to each county and municipality to develop
  419  and implement such regional multicounty efforts.
  420         Section 5. Section 570.841, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  421  read:
  422         570.841 Farm-to-fuel initiative.—
  423         (1) The department may develop a farm-to-fuel initiative to
  424  enhance the market for and promote the production and
  425  distribution of renewable energy from Florida-grown crops,
  426  agricultural wastes and residues, and other biomass and to
  427  enhance the value of agricultural products or expand
  428  agribusiness in this the state. The initiative may address the
  429  production and capture of renewable natural gas through the use
  430  of digesters and other treatment technologies at livestock
  431  farms, food production facilities, and other agricultural waste
  432  management operations.
  433         (2) The department may conduct a statewide comprehensive
  434  information and education program aimed at educating the general
  435  public and agricultural producers about the benefits of
  436  renewable energy and the use and production of alternative
  437  fuels.
  438         Section 6. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  439  made by this act to section 403.067, Florida Statutes, in
  440  references thereto, paragraph (a) of subsection (1) and
  441  subsection (3) of section 403.0671, Florida Statutes, are
  442  reenacted to read:
  443         403.0671 Basin management action plan wastewater reports.—
  444         (1) By July 1, 2021, the department, in coordination with
  445  the county health departments, wastewater treatment facilities,
  446  and other governmental entities, shall submit a report to the
  447  Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the
  448  House of Representatives evaluating the costs of wastewater
  449  projects identified in the basin management action plans
  450  developed pursuant to ss. 373.807 and 403.067(7) and the onsite
  451  sewage treatment and disposal system remediation plans and other
  452  restoration plans developed to meet the total maximum daily
  453  loads required under s. 403.067. The report must include:
  454         (a) Projects to:
  455         1. Replace onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems
  456  with enhanced nutrient-reducing onsite sewage treatment and
  457  disposal systems.
  458         2. Install or retrofit onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  459  systems with enhanced nutrient-reducing technologies.
  460         3. Construct, upgrade, or expand domestic wastewater
  461  treatment facilities to meet the wastewater treatment plan
  462  required under s. 403.067(7)(a)9.
  463         4. Connect onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems to
  464  domestic wastewater treatment facilities;
  465         (3) Beginning January 1, 2022, and each January 1
  466  thereafter, the department shall submit to the Office of
  467  Economic and Demographic Research the cost estimates for
  468  projects required in s. 403.067(7)(a)9. The office shall include
  469  the project cost estimates in its annual assessment conducted
  470  pursuant to s. 403.928.
  471         Section 7. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  472  made by this act to section 403.067, Florida Statutes, in
  473  references thereto, paragraphs (e) and (f) of subsection (2) of
  474  section 403.0673, Florida Statutes, are reenacted to read:
  475         403.0673 Water quality improvement grant program.—A grant
  476  program is established within the Department of Environmental
  477  Protection to address wastewater, stormwater, and agricultural
  478  sources of nutrient loading to surface water or groundwater.
  479         (2) The department may provide grants for all of the
  480  following types of projects that reduce the amount of nutrients
  481  entering those waterbodies identified in subsection (1):
  482         (e) Projects identified pursuant to s. 403.067(7)(a) or
  483  (e).
  484         (f) Projects identified in a wastewater treatment plan or
  485  an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system remediation plan
  486  developed pursuant to s. 403.067(7)(a)9.a. and b.
  487         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.