Section 377.2425, Florida Statutes 2001
377.2425 Manner of providing security for geophysical exploration, drilling, and production.--
(1) Prior to granting a permit to conduct geophysical operations; drilling of exploratory, injection, or production wells; producing oil and gas from a wellhead; or transporting oil and gas through a field-gathering system, the department shall require the applicant or operator to provide surety that these operations will be conducted in a safe and environmentally compatible manner.
(a) The applicant for a drilling, production, or injection well permit or a geophysical permit may provide the following types of surety to the department for this purpose:
1. A deposit of cash or other securities made payable to the Minerals Trust Fund. Such cash or securities so deposited shall be held at interest by the Comptroller to satisfy safety and environmental performance provisions of this chapter. The interest shall be credited to the Minerals Trust Fund. Such cash or other securities shall be released by the Comptroller upon request of the applicant and certification by the department that all safety and environmental performance provisions established by the department for permitted activities have been fulfilled.
2. A bond of a surety company authorized to do business in the state in an amount as provided by rule.
3. A surety in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount as provided by rule guaranteed by an acceptable financial institution.
(b) An applicant for a drilling, production, or injection well permit, or a permittee who intends to continue participating in long-term production activities of such wells, has the option to provide surety to the department by paying an annual fee to the Minerals Trust Fund. For an applicant or permittee choosing this option the following shall apply:
1. For the first year, or part of a year, of a drilling, production, or injection well permit, or change of operator, the fee is $4,000 per permitted well.
2. For each subsequent year, or part of a year, the fee is $1,500 per permitted well.
3. The maximum fee that an applicant or permittee may be required to pay into the trust fund is $30,000 per calendar year, regardless of the number of permits applied for or in effect.
4. The fees set forth in subparagraphs 1., 2., and 3. shall be reviewed by the department on a biennial basis and adjusted for the cost of inflation. The department shall establish by rule a suitable index for implementing such fee revisions.
(c) An applicant for a drilling or operating permit for operations planned in coastal waters that by their nature warrant greater surety shall provide surety only in accordance with paragraph (a), or similar proof of financial responsibility other than as provided in paragraph (b). For all such applications, including applications pending at the effective date of this act and notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b), the Governor and Cabinet in their capacity as the Administration Commission, at the recommendation of the Department of Environmental Protection, shall set a reasonable amount of surety required under this subsection. The surety amount shall be based on the projected cleanup costs and natural resources damages resulting from a maximum oil spill and adverse hydrographic and atmospheric conditions that would tend to transport the oil into environmentally sensitive areas, as determined by the Department of Environmental Protection.
(2) The department shall establish by rule reasonable standards and procedures to determine the circumstances in which execution shall be made against any surety provided under this section.
(a) Such standards and procedures must provide a reasonable opportunity for a permittee to correct to the satisfaction of the department any safety or environmental performance violation arising out of the permitted activity before execution is made against any surety provided under this section.
(b) If there is an unresolved violation of a department rule or permit for which the department has issued a notice of violation and order for corrective action, no further surety under this section shall be allowed the permittee except by special consideration of the Governor and Cabinet.
History.--s. 3, ch. 88-278; s. 3, ch. 89-358; s. 312, ch. 94-356; s. 54, ch. 96-321; s. 1, ch. 97-49.