(1) The purpose of this section is to provide a mechanism to have financial resources immediately available for prevention of, and cleanup and rehabilitation after, a pollutant discharge, to prevent further damage by the pollutant, and to pay for damages. It is the legislative intent that this section be liberally construed to effect the purposes set forth, such interpretation being especially imperative in light of the danger to the environment and resources.
(2) The Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund is established, to be used by the department and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a nonlapsing revolving fund for carrying out the purposes of ss. 376.011-376.21. To this fund shall be credited all registration fees, penalties, judgments, damages recovered pursuant to s. 376.121, other fees and charges related to ss. 376.011-376.21, and the excise tax revenues levied, collected, and credited pursuant to ss. 206.9935(1) and 206.9945(1)(a). Charges against the fund shall be in accordance with this section.
(3) Moneys in the fund that are not needed currently to meet the obligations of the department in the exercise of its responsibilities under ss. 376.011-376.21 shall be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the fund and may be invested in such manner as is provided for by statute. Interest received on such investment shall be credited to the fund, except as otherwise specified herein.
(4) Moneys in the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund shall be disbursed for the following purposes and no others:
(a) Administrative expenses, personnel expenses, and equipment costs of the department and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission related to the enforcement of ss. 376.011-376.21.
(b) All costs involved in the prevention and abatement of pollution related to the discharge of pollutants covered by ss. 376.011-376.21 and the abatement of other potential pollution hazards as authorized herein.
(c) All costs and expenses of the cleanup, restoration, and rehabilitation of waterfowl, wildlife, and all other natural resources damaged by the discharge of pollutants, including the costs of assessing and recovering damages to natural resources, whether performed or authorized by the department or any other state or local agency.
(d) All provable costs and damages which are the proximate results of the discharge of pollutants covered by ss. 376.011-376.21.
(e) Loans to the Inland Protection Trust Fund created in s. 376.3071.
(f) The interest earned from investments of the balance in the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund shall be used for funding the administrative expenses, personnel expenses, and equipment costs of the department relating to the enforcement of ss. 376.011-376.21.
(g) The funding of a grant program to local governments, pursuant to s. 376.15(2)(b) and (c), for the removal of derelict vessels from the public waters of the state.
(h) The department may spend up to $1 million per year from the principal of the fund to acquire, design, train, and maintain emergency cleanup response teams and equipment located at appropriate ports throughout the state for the purpose of cleaning oil and other toxic materials from coastal waters. When the teams and equipment are not needed for these purposes they may be used for any other valid purpose of the department.
(i) To provide a temporary transfer of funds in an amount not to exceed $10 million to the Minerals Trust Fund as set forth in s. 376.40.
(j) Funding for marine law enforcement.
(5) Any interest in lands acquired using moneys in the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund shall be held by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and such lands shall be acquired pursuant to the procedures set forth in s. 253.025.
(6) The department shall recover to the use of the fund from the person or persons causing the discharge or from the Federal Government, jointly and severally, all sums owed or expended from the fund, pursuant to s. 376.123(10), except that recoveries resulting from damage due to a discharge of a pollutant or other similar disaster shall be apportioned between the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund and the General Revenue Fund so as to repay the full costs to the General Revenue Fund of any sums disbursed therefrom as a result of such disaster. Requests for reimbursement to the fund for the above costs, if not paid within 30 days of demand, shall be turned over to the Department of Legal Affairs for collection.
History.—s. 11, ch. 70-244; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 2, ch. 71-137; s. 11, ch. 74-336; s. 3, ch. 80-382; s. 4, ch. 81-228; s. 82, ch. 83-310; s. 14, ch. 83-339; s. 1, ch. 83-353; s. 4, ch. 84-338; s. 6, ch. 85-252; ss. 3, 8, 34, ch. 86-159; s. 81, ch. 86-163; s. 30, ch. 87-225; s. 3, ch. 89-175; s. 5, ch. 89-358; s. 17, ch. 90-54; s. 16, ch. 90-243; s. 1, ch. 91-194; s. 7, ch. 96-263; s. 45, ch. 96-321; s. 28, ch. 97-153; s. 2, ch. 97-259; ss. 19, 38, ch. 98-46; s. 51, ch. 99-245; s. 18, ch. 2000-157; s. 5, ch. 2000-211; s. 389, ch. 2003-261; s. 6, ch. 2006-309.