FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2014
DEP REGULATORY COMPLIANCE CONTINUES TO CLIMB
~As compliance increases, environmental risk and harm decreases~
TALLAHASSEE – In 2013, facilities considered in significant
compliance with Florida Department of Environmental Protection rules and
regulations rose to 96 percent, a two percent
increase from 2012. This is based on tens of thousands of inspections and monitoring samples statewide. The remaining four percent represents those facilities that remain significantly out of
compliance, which has historically been between 10 and 14 percent.
Record compliance numbers are a result of the Department’s significant
education and outreach efforts over the last two years. In 2013 alone, Department
staff participated in 7,494 education and outreach events, reaching more than
Department and the regulated community are making significant
progress in achieving higher compliance rates. By working with the citizens and businesses
that the Department regulates, noncompliance and environmental harm is avoided. As a
result, the number of legal actions filed and monetary fines levied by the Department in 2013
has dropped to a record low.
Here is what regulated industry is saying about DEP's regulatory
staff has worked hard, and continues to do so, to help our facility personnel
understand areas of non-compliance by offering suggestions to improve our
process and bring items of concern up to code. The change in mindset, from one
of enforcement, to one of assistance and partnering with the organization has
greatly improved relations while providing greater protection to the
environment.” –Pedro J. Santiago, Lt.Col, FLANG, Environmental Manager for the
125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard.
“This proactive approach to understanding
compliance was refreshing and is thought of as a partnership between the FDEP
and Embarer. Often, companies are reactive when faced with citations for
non-compliance that could have been avoided by asking for guidance from the
FDEP to determine possible gaps in processes or procedures.” –Doug Dennis,
Regional Environmental Health and Safety Director for Embraer Executive
Aircraft, Inc. in Melbourne.
noticed the approach is weighted toward helping us to be successful in our
efforts of protecting the environment. We are confident this attitude of
helping us will have a positive, long lasting impact on our great State.”
–James Beaudry, Fixed Operations Manager for Gordon Chevrolet in Orange Park.
This emphasis on outreach and education does not mean that the
Department is unwilling to initiate a formal enforcement action when someone ignores Florida’s
laws and the Department’s efforts. In fact, the Department engaged in formal
enforcement action 225 times in 2013.
Furthermore, formal enforcement does not
involve only monetary penalties. Actually, the Department encourages non-compliant facilities to resolve their penalties through pollution
prevention projects or environmental projects. These projects must be valued at
150 percent of what the monetary fine would be. These projects result in a superior environmental value for the state—the
penalty is satisfied and environmental benefits are provided. An example of
this is the project Phoenix Construction Services, Inc. completed last year to
clean up the Coyote Disposal Facility in Panama City, which was performed in
lieu of a significant monetary penalty.
The Department is in the business of
environmental protection and compliance. The Department’s compliance numbers
are at an all-time high and Florida’s environment benefits as a result. In fact, Florida’s air is cleaner than it has been in our
lifetime. The State’s water quality standards are considered the most
comprehensive in the nation. DEP’s
proactive approach to increasing compliance has delivered the following improvements.
Year Significant Compliance
Significant compliance is defined as facilities in full
facilities that have minor violations that present no environmental harm, such
as tardy or missing paperwork. The Department regulates roughly 75,000 facilities statewide.