- Uptick in Redevelopment of Contaminated Sites – This trend is evident both for impacted sites in general and for those formally in the state of Florida’s (EPA) Brownfields Program, which provides economic and regulatory incentives to encourage voluntary cleanup and redevelopment of commercial and industrial sites that are abandoned and underused due to contamination, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s website. We expect this trend to continue due to increased interest in doing business in Florida and the surge of capital into the state, especially in South Florida.
- Infrastructure Challenges – With more people moving to Florida, the state needs new and resilient infrastructure. Infrastructure-related challenges require solutions that address a variety of environmental concerns, including wetlands permitting, mitigation and mitigation availability, solid-waste treatment and disposal, and other related issues. Addressing these issues will be at the forefront for various government entities in 2024.
- Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – Uncertainty persists regarding federal and potential state efforts to regulate PFAS and other “forever chemicals.” Addressing the challenges that forever chemicals pose will require additional funding to employ the necessary technology and water infrastructure designed specifically for this purpose. The regulatory impact of PFAS on otherwise closed sites is also a challenge for the regulated community, including real estate owners and operators.
- Climate Change and Ongoing Regulations – Climate change issues, such as rising sea levels, continue to affect developers and commercial property owners in Florida. In 2024, we expect continuing regulatory action and enforcement from the state in the form of building code changes and structural inspections for aging residential and other buildings.
- Sackett Ruling Impact on Florida – The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA, which narrowed the jurisdictional scope of wetlands regulations under the Clean Water Act, has led to uncertainty around whether local governments or the state will attempt to fill any purported regulatory void the decision creates. We will likely see some ramifications of the Sackett decision play out in 2024.
About the Author:
Kerri L. Barsh is Co-Chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice and represents public and private clients on an array of environmental regulatory, permitting and litigation matters, including transactional support and due diligence, environmental assessment and liability matters, climate change, energy and infrastructure projects, wetlands and coastal permitting, complex land use projects, air quality matters, hazardous materials contamination, and other compliance and enforcement cases.