The Florida Legislature
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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Review of the Issues Related to an Environmental Self-Audit Policy , Report No. 95-42, March 1996

  • While this report recognizes the value of environmental self-auditing, it concludes that privilege and immunity are not necessary to protect businesses from being fined or penalized as a result of self-auditing. Although House Bill 1817 and Senate Bill 1902 proposed for the 1996 Legislative Session are better bills than the one proposed in 1995, we continue to have reservations about an environmental self-audit policy that provides privilege and immunity. There is no compelling reason for the Legislature to enact an environmental audit policy because an effective policy can be implemented administratively by the state's enforcing and regulatory agencies.
  • The state's current regulatory climate is not overly punitive in nature.
  • The efficacy of privilege and immunity has yet to be demonstrated.
  • When considered on whole, immunity and privilege offer relatively few advantages compared to the potential disadvantages that might arise.
  • The primary goals of an environmental self-audit policy can be achieved without privilege and immunity laws.
  • OPPAGA recommends that the Legislature not enact an environmental self-audit policy that provides privilege or immunity for businesses that undertake environmental self-audits. If the Legislature deems that enacting an environmental self-audit policy is essential to improving environmental performance, OPPAGA recommends that the Legislature enact an evidentiary exclusion for environmental self-audit reports.

    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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