From fracking to tree-trimming to using close to $900 million from a voter-approved conservation fund, Florida lawmakers are lining up their wishes ahead of the 2018 session.
The assault on Florida’s environment continues as a Senate committee last week approved a bill that would make it easier for companies to use fracking technology to drill for oil and gas in the state.
Most Florida environmental groups this special session made a lot of noise and spent a lot of money, but came away empty-handed and unhappy. Not The Nature Conservancy.
Sen. Alan Hays, a Umatilla Republican in charge of budget talks with the House–which is already resisting more money for land-buying–says Florida already has enough land in public hands.
The plan drew mixed reviews from conservationists concerned that lawmakers disregarded the intent of voters who supported a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 1, in November.
Environmental groups around the state are alarmed at U.S. Sugar’s plans to change its business model and potentially develop huge tracts of land it owns in South Florida, which might affect Everglades restoration efforts.
Gov. Rick Scott, in a 30-minute meeting with scientists, asked whether the professors’ students were getting jobs in Florida, but showed no interest in the science under discussion or scientists’ urging him to prepare the state for the coming challenges posed by climate change.
From blocking debate on equal pay for equal work for women, to a head-in-the-sand approach to protecting our environment, the list of issues ignored by this legislature is as long as it is indefensible, argues Mark Ferrulo.
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported a preliminary count of 4,831 manatees in Florida during a statewide aerial survey conducted on Jan. 24 and Jan. 27. That’s the third-highest number of manatees recorded since such surveys began in 1991. No surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2012 because of unusually warm weather.
The Department of Environmental Protection effort was created with the intent of generating $50 million and replace the defunct and once-popular Florida Forever program, but so far no money has been raised and what has become a shortened list continues to draw criticism for sites remaining under consideration.