Section 378.035, Florida Statutes 2001
378.035 Department responsibilities and duties with respect to Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund.--
(1) The department shall administer the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund.
(2)(a) The department shall verify that reclamation activities or portions thereof have been accomplished in accordance with the reclamation contract and shall certify the cost of such reclamation activities to the Comptroller for reimbursement.
(b) Beginning in 1985, the department shall determine the maximum dollar amount a landowner may be reimbursed per reclaimed acre under an approved reclamation program.
(c) Nothing in this act precludes a landowner from performing the reclamation pursuant to the approved reclamation program, provided the landowner complies with the provisions of this act.
(3) If an applicant who has signed a reclamation contract abandons the reclamation program prior to substantial completion of the program, the department may spend the remaining balance of funds not expended under the contract to complete the program.
(a) The contract amount and any amounts spent by the department in excess of the remaining balance of the funds under the contract become a lien upon the property, enforceable pursuant to chapter 85. The moneys received as a result of a lien foreclosure or as repayment shall be deposited into the trust fund.
(b) If the land acquired pursuant to the lien foreclosure has recreational or wildlife value, the department may retain ownership as with other property acquired pursuant to s. 378.036. If the department sells the property, the department shall deposit the proceeds of the sale into the trust fund.
(4) Interest on moneys deposited in the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund shall accrue to that fund.
(5) On July 1, 2001, $50 million of the unencumbered funds within the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund are reserved for use by the department.
(a) These reserved moneys are to be used to reclaim lands disturbed by the severance of phosphate rock on or after July 1, 1975, in the event that a mining company ceases mining and the associated reclamation prior to all lands disturbed by the operation being reclaimed. Moneys expended by the department to accomplish reclamation pursuant to this subsection shall become a lien upon the property enforceable pursuant to chapter 85. The moneys received as a result of a lien foreclosure or as repayment shall be deposited into the trust fund. In the event the money received as a result of lien foreclosure or repayment is less than the amount expended for reclamation, the department shall use all means available to recover, for the use of the fund, the difference from the affected parties. Paragraph (3)(b) shall apply to lands acquired as a result of a lien foreclosure.
(b) The department may also expend funds from the $50 million reserve fund for the abatement of an imminent hazard as provided by s. 403.4154(3) and for the purpose of closing an abandoned phosphogypsum stack system and carrying out postclosure care as provided by s. 403.4154(5). Fees deposited in the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund pursuant to s. 403.4154(4) may be used for the purposes authorized in this paragraph. However, such fees may only be used at a stack system if closure or imminent-hazard-abatement activities initially commence on or after July 1, 2002.
(6)(a) Up to one-half of the interest income accruing to the funds reserved by subsection (5) shall be available to the department annually for the purpose of funding basic management or protection of reclaimed, restored, or preserved phosphate lands:
1. Which have wildlife habitat value as determined by the Bureau of Mine Reclamation;
2. Which have been transferred by the landowner to a public agency or a private, nonprofit land conservation and management entity in fee simple, or which have been made subject to a conservation easement pursuant to s. 704.06; and
3. For which other management funding options are not available.
These funds may, after the basic management or protection has been assured for all such lands, be combined with other available funds to provide a higher level of management for such lands.
(b) Up to one-half of the interest income accruing to the funds reserved by subsection (5) shall be available to the department annually for the sole purpose of funding the department's implementation of:
1. The NPDES permitting program authorized by s. 403.0885, as it applies to phosphate mining and beneficiation facilities, phosphate fertilizer production facilities, and phosphate loading and handling facilities;
2. The regulation of dams in accordance with department rule 62-672, Florida Administrative Code; and
3. The phosphogypsum management program pursuant to s. 403.4154 and department rule 62-673, Florida Administrative Code.
On or before August 1 of each fiscal year, the department shall prepare a report presenting the expenditures using the interest income allocated by this section made by the department during the immediately preceding fiscal year, which report shall be available to the public upon request.
(7) Should the nonmandatory land reclamation program encumber all the funds in the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund except those reserved by subsection (5) prior to funding all the reclamation applications for eligible parcels, the funds reserved by subsection (5) shall be available to the program to the extent required to complete the reclamation of all eligible parcels for which the department has received applications.
(8) The department may not accept any applications for nonmandatory land reclamation programs after November 1, 2008.
(9) The Bureau of Mine Reclamation shall review the sufficiency of the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund to support the stated objectives and report to the secretary annually with recommendations as appropriate. The report submittal for calendar year 2008 shall specifically address the effect of providing a future refund of fees paid pursuant to s. 403.4154(4) following certification of stack closure pursuant to department rules, and the report shall be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on or before March 1, 2009.
History.--s. 5, ch. 84-330; s. 6, ch. 97-222; s. 1, ch. 2001-134.