Scott signs Everglades bill

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a measure (HB 7065) intended to maintain a tax that helps pay for cleaning water that runs off from South Florida farms into the Everglades.

“This is a long term commitment, we have a long term plan and this is going to do the right thing for the Everglades,” Scott said after signing the bill at Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in West Palm Beach.

The measure provides $32 million a year, through a tax on growers along the northern edge of the Everglades, as part of Scott’s $880 million long-term Everglades restoration plan. Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg said the bill “protects the 1993 Statement of Principles that has guided Florida’s restoration efforts for two decades and provides funding for construction projects to ensure water quality standards in the Everglades are finally achieved.”

Environmental groups had fought earlier versions of the legislation, which they said threatened to limit cleanup requirements for sugar growers and would have hindered the ability of third-party groups to challenge water permits being issued to farms. Scott also is expected to sign a bill Tuesday that will ban texting while driving. The News Service will have complete coverage later Tuesday.

Via the News Service of Florida.

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.