With roughly $750 million to spread around this year, lawmakers set up shop last week for Amendment 1, starting with a website to plug in the public. And when the Senate Committee on Environmental Protection and Conservation gathered with chairman Charlie Dean, a coalition of environmental watchdogs was first in line with a proposal.
» David Cullen, Sierra Club Florida: "The coalition [is] working to get Amendment 1 appropriately treated."
“In short what we’re looking for is renewed state spending on water and land conservation, to restore and protect Florida’s water resources, to provide access to public lands and to keep working lands, farms and forests a part of our rural landscape,” said David Cullen, a lobbyist for Sierra Club Florida.
Cullen, a Sarasota resident, was at the EPC meeting in Tallahassee with Eric Draper of Florida Audubon and Janet Bowman of the Nature Conservancy, coalition groups that helped to forge the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative.
The coalition’s proposal calls for $150 million for Florida Forever, $150 million for the Everglades system, $90 million for land management, $50 million for springs and $55 million for beach management and rural family lands. ]
A comprehensive water policy is expected to be high on a long list of Amendment 1 legislative business for the Senate EPC panel and a House panel on natural resources. The DEP recently adopted a 10-year $750 million plan to clean up the Lake Okeechobee watershed that taints the Indian River Lagoon estuary and affects the Everglades.
“There are plenty of opportunities for folks in the Legislature to be involved,” said Cullen, a Sarasota resident. “The coalition [is] working to get Amendment 1 appropriately treated. … We want to see it used for the purposes the voters intended when they gave it 75 percent of the vote.”
Hasta la vista