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DEP seeks $50M for Florida Forever

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A request is on the desk of Gov. Rick Scott to replenish the state’s most prominent land-preservation fund. The Department of Environmental Protection‘s wish list for the 2018-2019 fiscal year—presented to Scott last week as the governor’s office crafts budget recommendations for the Legislature—includes $50 million for the Florida Forever program.

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Lake Okeechobee rise spurs more water releases

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Water started to be released Tuesday morning southwest from Lake Okeechobee, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeks to stem a post-hurricane rise in the lake’s water level. The Army Corps had resumed flows Friday from the lake east toward the St. Lucie Estuary but held off on western releases because of flooding from Hurricane Irma that has slowed storm recovery in Southwest Florida.

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J.P. Sasser: Environmental activists rewriting history, fraudulently manipulating data to sell land plan

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It’s incredible how foggy some people’s memories are when it comes to past efforts to restore the Everglades, buy farmland and build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Time and again, environmental extremists are quick to blame the sugar industry for every ill in the region, past, present and future, without any regard to science or the truth. And speaking of the truth and science, recently, they were caught by the South Florida Water Management District manipulating data to show…

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Amendment 4 would make solar cheaper for property owners

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Voters in sun-soaked Florida will have a chance Tuesday to decide whether to approve an amendment to the state constitution that supporters say is aimed at encouraging the use of solar energy. A proposed Amendment 4 calls for tax breaks that could help both commercial and residential property owners install solar or renewable energy systems or devices more affordably. The proposal requires the consent of 60 percent of the voters casting ballots in the Aug. 30 primary. The measure was…

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Jac VerSteeg: Rick Scott puts Band-Aid on environmental wounds

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A politician is a guy who shoots you in the gut and then campaigns by bragging about the Band-Aid he put on the wound. The latest example: Just days after The Palm Beach Post’s John Kennedy documented how Gov. Rick Scott‘s environmental policies had led to an explosion of huge developments in Palm Beach County and across the state, Scott showed up in the county to tout his environmental achievements. Scott came to Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education…

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Senate committee passes bill restructuring public land acquisition and management

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A bill revamping the state’s process of public land acquisition and management passed its first Senate committee Tuesday. LobbyTools reports that SB 1290, filed by Trilby Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson is nearly identical to House equivalent, HB 1075, filed by Lehigh Acres Republican Rep. Matt Caldwell. Orlando Democratic Sen. Darren Soto submitted an amendment to strip language that would allow “an expansion of use of land acquisition dollars, Amendment 1 dollars, on water projects.” Although opposing a similar bill last year, Eric Draper of Audubon…

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Environmental community scores big in Florida House on Tuesday

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The Everglades Foundation, Audubon Florida, the Nature Conservancy, and the H2O Coalition of the Associated Industries of Florida. What do all of these political players have in common? They scored a massive victory Tuesday all thanks to the Florida House of Representatives. A loud symphony of applause came in the form of a three-page news release where countless groups praised and thanked House Speaker Steve Crisafulli for his support and commitment toward dedicating funding to “Legacy Florida,” a measure that includes cleanup for the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee, CERP and other…

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