Florida environmental agencies will have about $3.6 billion to spend in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, based on recommendations from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.
Among other things, Hays’ budget provides $1.5 billion to the Department of Environmental Protection, $1.7 billion to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, $384.8 million to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and $41.9 million to the Department of Citrus.
The Senate’s proposal confirms a 4 percent budget increase requested by the DEP and Gov. Rick Scott, but only $82 million for Everglades restoration, which was less than contained in both the DEP budget ($176 million) and Scott’s plan ($151 million.)
According to LobbyTools, Hays’ budget recommendation matches DEP and Scott with $50 million for springs restoration projects, while increasing land acquisition spending significantly over what was requested. The Senate budget plan devotes $82.6 million to land acquisition, compared to only $63 million suggested by the DEP and Governor.
However, the Senate budget seeks to give Florida Forever $22.3 million, about the same amount asked for by Scott and the DEP. Also, $50 million would be allocated for water projects statewide. Local governments had already requested nearly $700 million for various water projects.
FDACS’ budget also includes about $2.8 million for implementing agriculture best management practices statewide, as well as eight additional staffers for the Office of Water Policy and a line item that would increase the pay for firefighters.