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Bruce Ritchie has 127 articles published.

Did voters envision sewage plants when they voted for Amendment 1?

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Pipes vs. parks. Could that become the focus of debate over Amendment 1, the conservation lands amendment approved by 75 percent of voters on Nov. 4? Amendment 1 would dedicate more than $10 billion over 20 years toward state purchases that could involve more than just state parks and forests. That’s probably what most people envision when they think about conservation lands. Among the other purchases, according to the ballot language, could be “lands protecting water resources and drinking water…

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Passage of Amendment 1 should send message to state leaders

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A vast majority of Floridians wants to preserve the state’s landscape no matter who they voted for in political races. That should be the takeaway for all state officials after the general election on Tuesday when you analyze the results. Sure, voters re-elected Rick Scott, the Republican incumbent governor, over Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who this time had a Sierra Club Florida endorsement. But voters also backed a conservation lands amendment by a 75-25 percent margin statewide.…

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Bruce Ritchie: Passage of Amendment 1 should send message to state leaders

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A vast majority of Floridians wants to preserve the state’s landscape no matter who they voted for in political races. That should be the takeaway for all state officials after the general election on Tuesday when you analyze the results. Sure, voters re-elected Rick Scott, the Republican incumbent governor, over Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who this time had a Sierra Club Florida endorsement. But voters also backed a conservation lands amendment by a 75-25 percent margin statewide.…

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Charlie Crist, Rick Scott also got hot over environment, climate change during debate

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The environment was front and center in Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate even if an electric fan received the most media attention. By now you may know that former Gov. Charlie Crist was on stage for about five minutes at the start of a televised debate without Gov. Rick Scott. That’s because of a dispute over whether debate rules allowed Crist to have the fan on stage. I know that a month from now, the impact of the election on the environment…

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Bruce Ritchie: Debate heats up about wisdom of burning wood for energy

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Few if any spring-breakers and beach-goers speeding south on U. S. Highway 231 toward Panama City Beach realize they’re passing one of the largest producers of wood pellets in the United States. The wood pellet industry says it’s producing a sustainable alternative energy source and cleaner alternative to coal. But an increasing chorus of scientists and environmentalists are questioning those claims. The issue, like so many involving the environment and industries, is complicated and requires some deeper consideration. On the…

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Bruce Ritchie: Bob Graham is back on the campaign trail helping daughter Gwen

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Former U. S. Senator Bob Graham was back on the campaign trail this month, and he said he’s loving it. Graham’s daughter, Gwen Graham, is running as a Democrat for Congress against Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City. Last week, she wrapped up an eight-day “Grilling with the Grahams” tour of the congressional district’s 14 counties with her father and other family members. “This reminds me of some of the happiest times of my life — when I was campaigning in…

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Bruce Ritchie: Scott can’t call his environmental promises ‘investments’

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Gov. Rick Scott can say what he will do if he is re-elected to another four years in office — but not beyond that. In a re-election campaign document released Sunday that the governor is calling his “Keep Florida Beautiful” plan, Scott says he will propose 10-year “investments” to provide $500 million for springs restoration and $500 million for alternative water supplies. Scott’s campaign document also says “the state must invest more” in land conservation and that he will request $150 million…

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