Conservation land-buying cut out of House’s proposed budget

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The $69.1-billion proposed 2012-13 budget released by the House of Representatives on Friday includes no money for conservation land-buying and it cuts the governor’s request for Everglades restoration, reports Bruce Ritchie.

The House also proposed spending for cleaning up petroleum tank contamination sites and for beach restoration projects which are fiercely defended by legislators.

The Florida Forever land acquisition program was the largest in the nation from 1990 until 2008, providing for the conservation of 2.4 million acres. But the program received no new money from the Legislature in 2009.

After vetoing spending authority for the program in 2011, Gov. Rick Scott recommended $15 million for land acquisition in his 2012-13 budget request along with $7.5 million in authority to spend federal dollars for buying land around military bases.

But the House eliminated both of those line items from its proposed budget. Janet Bowman of The Nature Conservancy said the spending for military base buffers protects the environment and while preventing the bases from becoming surrounded by incompatible development.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.