DEP could get law enforcement duties

Fleming Island senator files bill that would transfer FWC duties to DEP

File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In an idea backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Senate Republican on Thursday filed a proposal that would move law-enforcement duties from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The bill (SB 1502), filed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, would transfer the commission’s duties related to investigation of environmental crimes and enforcement of such laws.

In announcing an environmental plan last month, DeSantis included transferring the duties, which his office said would move 19 positions to the Department of Environmental Protection.

“This will move the investigations and criminal enforcement back to DEP to align resources focused on environmental protection, allowing DEP to address both civil and criminal investigations for the environmental laws that fall under their purview,” the governor’s office said at the time. “This will allow DEP to comprehensively protect the environment from criminal environmental actions, while maintaining record compliance and its investment in public education.”

Bradley’s bill is filed for the legislative session that will start Tuesday.