Environmentalists Weigh In On DeSantis’s Budget Proposal

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What is causing climate change and can we do something about the cause?  Apparently our leaders can’t see that far ahead, or maybe they don’t want to ruffle  their lobbyist friends’ feathers.

Read the entire article here at WFSUnews.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum

Environmentalists Weigh In On DeSantis’s Budget Proposal

Environmental advocacy groups say Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposed budget is a good start, but they worry it doesn’t put enough money toward protecting Florida’s natural resources and doesn’t do enough to address the cause of climate change.

banfarackfebcullen In: Environmentalists Weigh In On DeSantis's Budget Proposal | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
David Cullen. Photo by Jim Tatum.

The governor’s budget proposal would create the Resilient Florida program, which will give $1 billion over four years to projects aimed at combating sea level rise, storms, and flooding. Sierra Club Florida’s David Cullen says the program shows the governor is taking sea level rise seriously.

“But we note that there is no attack on the cause of sea level rise. This is akin to treating only the symptoms of the disease but not addressing the cause of the disease,” Cullen says.

Cullen says DeSantis needs to tackle climate change and focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. His group would like to see state agencies buy electric vehicles to replace gas-powered ones.

“And that could be done on an as they retire basis. Replace them with EVs,” Cullen says.

Aliki Moncrief works with the group Florida Conservation Voters. She’s worried the Resilient Florida program could take dollars away from Florida Forever—the state’s conservation land buying program.

“Florida Forever was one of those key programs that voters had in mind in 2014 as a necessary program to make sure that as our state is developing, as we got new subdivisions going in and destroying wetlands and natural areas that we actually have a fund that we can use to balance that destruction with protection and conservation,” Moncrief says.

Resilient Florida would dip into the same pot of money that Florida Forever gets its funding from. DeSantis’s proposal earmarks $50 million for the program, but Moncrief says that’s not enough.

“We need to see Florida Forever restored to historic levels, which were more like $300 million a year,” Moncrief says.

“At the very least, we’d like to see a $100 million, but you know, $50 million is a starting point, and I’m sure we will have some opportunities for discussion, Beth Alvi says. She works for Audubon Florida and would like to see more money to go towards protecting agricultural lands from development….

The governor’s budget includes a total of $4.3 billion for environmental issues. That includes dollars for wastewater treatment projects like septic to sewer conversions and everglades restoration projects, among others.

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