Earthjustice lawyer and tireless environmentalist David Guest has an article today in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, also carried by the Gainesville Sun, cautioning about the dangers confronting Amendment 1 as the Florida Legislature prepares to examine it.
The amendment ensures that $10 billion over the next 20 years is set aside exclusively for state conservation land-buying and management. The Legislature gets to decide what constitutes buying land for conservation. Already, agricultural lobbyists have their hands out for more corporate welfare. Agriculture is one of the state’s largest polluters, and also one of its biggest campaign contributors, with political beneficiaries in both political parties.
We’re hearing some disturbing talk that some want to take the land buying money we voted for and try to divert it to pay for things that aren’t really buying and managing land for conservation. Things like giving corporations tax dollars to pay for facilities on agricultural operations and building sewage treatment plants to subsidize the construction of more residential subdivisions on what is now agricultural land. Those things do not meet the intent of the Land Acquisition Amendment.
And now it is part of our state constitution. We know from experience how ugly the deal-making can be at the Legislature, so we all need to stay vigilant to protect our victory. Our state leaders, who have been busy starving and dismantling environmental programs for years at the behest of corporate polluters, should take notice of this very clear message from the public they are elected to serve. In overwhelming numbers, the public wants land and water conserved.
The article can be read in its original form at this link.
OSFR applauds David Guest for his thoughtful analysis of this precarious situation and shares his concern. We urge all those who agree to contact their Tallahassee representatives to make sure they are aware of our feelings.