(1) The Legislature finds that Florida is endowed with varied natural resources that provide great recreational, environmental, and economic benefit to the people of the state. While the extraction of resources is an activity that contributes to the economic well-being of the state, improperly reclaimed or unreclaimed land may adversely affect the environment and may cause the temporary and, in some circumstances, permanent destruction of scenic beauty and wildlife habitats. The Legislature further finds that while it is not practicable to extract resources without disturbing the surface of the earth and producing waste materials, and that the very character of certain surface extraction operations precludes complete restoration of the land to its original contour, it is essential to require reclamation to mitigate the effects of resource extraction on the environment.
(2) The Legislature recognizes that there are wide variations in the circumstances and conditions surrounding and arising out of the extraction process and that the rehabilitation and conservation of resources will be assured only through proper planning and through consideration of the impact of resource extraction upon the environment as well as upon the land use of the surrounding areas. Reclamation actions are an integral part of the extraction process. The Legislature further recognizes that it is in the best interest of the state that the reclamation process be accomplished in a timely manner and that persons engaged in resource extraction shall be responsible for attaining required reclamation standards. Reclamation as provided in this part will allow the extraction of valuable resources while still providing for the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare, the protection of the state’s environment, and the subsequent beneficial use of the disturbed and reclaimed land.
(3) The Legislature recognizes that where possible and feasible the department should enter into memoranda of understanding to eliminate duplication and maximize the effectiveness of the regulatory process in the management and protection of our natural resources.