This legislative session, the Florida Conservation Coalition's priority was to have 25 percent of funds from the Water and Land Conservation Amendment dedicated by statute to Florida Forever priority projects and the Florida Communities Trust program. We also supported increased funding for the Rural and Family Lands program.
The FCC, its Member and Affiliate Organizations, and its dedicated members fought hard for land conservation this session. We made calls, sent emails, wrote to newspapers, and lobbied behind the scenes for lands that protect our drinking water, provide habitat for native wildlife like Florida black bears, and offer myriad recreational opportunities. The Legislature received tens of thousands of calls and emails with one clear message: honor the will of the voters who passed the Water and Land Conservation Amendment by investing in Florida Forever, Florida Communities Trust, and the Rural and Family Lands Program.
Unfortunately, budget leaders in the Senate and House chose to ignore us. They held secret meetings where they negotiated Florida’s budget behind closed doors. Incredibly, the Legislature couldn’t find one penny of the $800 million set aside by the Water and Land Conservation Amendment for Florida Forever or Florida Communities Trust. They cut funding for the Rural and Family Lands program from last year. Significant new funding was set aside for Everglades restoration, but equally pressing conservation needs in every other part of Florida were barely addressed.
FCC leadership is appalled by this willful disregard for Floridians' right to significant funding for land conservation. Click here to read the FCC’s press release in response to the Legislature’s environmental budget.
The FCC will not rest until Florida’s hallmark land conservation programs receive the funding that they deserve. We’re already starting to plan for next year, and we hope you’ll continue to stand with us. You can help by letting your legislators know how you feel about environmental spending decisions this session.
Thank you for your time.