Governor Ron DeSantis appears well on his way to securing more money for Everglades restoration and water quality improvements. Both House and Senate leaders appear to agree that these should be priorities.
DeSantis was in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday, touting the purchase of 20,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades. “We’ll permanently save the land from oil production but it’ll also be…the largest wetland acquisition in a decade” he said.
The land will be purchased from Kanter Real Estate LLC.
The move comes a day after his State of the State Address to lawmakers, where DeSantis urged them to put another $625 million toward improving the state’s water quality. DeSantis said the funding will serve as leverage for added federal support.
DeSantis’ priorities are being carried in bills filed by Republicans Sen. Rob Bradley, Sen. Debbie Mayfield, Sen. Joe Gruters and Rep. Randy Fine. Bradley’s bill requires a minimum annual appropriation, beginning this fiscal year. The other bills increase fines and strengthens restrictions for sewage spills.
“I have to give props to the governor for how forward thinking and dedicated to improving the condition of our environment and supporting our environment conservation. We have those bills over here and we’re going to go through them and they very well may be just what we need to become law.” Senate President Bill Galvano said, speaking to reporters after the State of the State.
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the water quality of the Everglades has been degraded since the 1960’s. The state has been purchasing land in an attempt to restore the natural water flow of the region.
“There are areas where those resources are in order, our governor has made the environment a major priority, and we will continue to offer our support in his efforts,” said House Speaker Jose Oliva.