Legislative Budget Commission Approves Plan for Petroleum Tanks Restoration Program

The Joint Legislative Budget Commission — a body of Florida senators and representatives — today approved a plan to improve the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s petroleum restoration program.

In the 2013-2014 budget, the Florida Legislature appropriated $125 million for the program, with $50 million provided initially and the remaining $75 million after the Department provided a plan to improve the program and when rulemaking is complete by Dec. 31. Today’s action approved the plan, which establishes competitive procurement procedures for cleanup contracts and efforts to focus funding on the highest-risk sites.

“This past session, we were able to support DEP’s request to enact reforms that will help improve this program to reduce costs and maximize its efficiency,” said Rep. Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland), Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission. “We have to be smart about how we use taxpayer dollars and under the leadership of Governor Scott and Secretary Vinyard, the Department is doing that.”

Under the leadership of DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., the Department has undergone a review of all programs and processes for efficiency and improvement, Last year, Department leadership determined changes were necessary in the petroleum restoration program, which has remained largely unchanged since 1996.

“With these important changes, the Department will have a more efficient and effective program. With competitively procure contracts, we will provide a better value for Florida taxpayers,” said Jeff Littlejohn, DEP Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs. “In addition, using money more wisely will result in an environmental benefit because more high-risk sites and will be cleaned up more quickly.”

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