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Albrecht v. Department of Envtl. Regulation

Citation: 8 ELR 20227
No. No. EE-136, 350 So. 2d 433/(Fla. Dist. Ct. App., 01/30/1978)

The court affirms the Department of Environmental Regulation's (DER's) denial of a fill permit application filed by owners of partially submerged lots, holding that DER has broad discretion to interpret a statute to require a determination of the effects on wildlife of proposed fill projects. The county board approved the application, but it was subsequntly denied by DER because, although filling the lots would improve water quality, a productive mangrove system which provided food for wildlife would be destroyed. Petitioners sought judicial review of the denial on the grounds that the statute neither authorizes DER to review an application for its effect on wildlife nor contains adequate standards to guide DER discretion. The court concludes that the statute authorizes DER to review all considerations, including the effect on wildlife, for which the county board has primary review. Furthermore, there is no unconstitutional delegation of discretionary authority in this provision for the review of permits because the statute requires specific studies and other procedural safeguards are available.

A dissent argues that because of a change in wording in the statute, DER lacked the authority to consider ecological factors.

Counsel for Petitioners
David A. Maney
Gordon & Maney
Suite 2919, First Financial Tower, Tampa FL 33602
(813) 228-7371

Counsel for Respondent
Reynold L. Caleen, Jr.
Department of Environmental Regulation
2562 Executive Center Circle, E., Tallahassee FL 32301
(904) 488-4807

With McCord, C.J.; dissent by Rawls, J.

McCORD, C.J., concurs.