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The Nature Conservancy

Florida counties have different plans for oil spill funds

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More than five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and sending more than 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a portion of the billions of dollars in settlement money with oil giant BP and others is slowly starting to reach 23 Florida counties. The counties stretch from Escambia on the western edge of the Panhandle to Monroe County on the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula,…

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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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Gwen Graham prevents forest fires, does Workday at Apalachicola National Forest

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U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham performed one of her signature “Workdays” — a tradition she inherited from her father Bob Graham — participating in a controlled burn at the Apalachicola National Forest on Thursday. Graham, along with representatives from U.S. Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy, protected trees housing the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, ignited potentially dangerous underbrush, and extinguished a fire threatening to consume a longleaf pine, according to a release. “It was an honor to work alongside the men and women of the U.S. Forest Service…

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Lobbyist Lee Killinger leaves Anfield Consulting for new role at Mosaic Company

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Influential environmental lobbyist Lee Killinger is leaving the boutique public affairs firm Anfield Consulting for a new role at The Mosaic Company. As director of public policy and government affairs, Killinger will direct Tallahassee advocacy efforts for the phosphate unit of the nation’s leading producer of agricultural nutrients. Mosaic is the Polk County-based phosphate fertilizer mining and manufacturing firm — the world’s largest combined producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. Killinger will serve as a principal adviser to the company’s leadership on government affairs…

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Senate bill clears final committee stop despite concerns from counties, environmentalists

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A Senate water bill passed its final committee stop on Tuesday despite continuing concerns raised by counties and environmentalists. SB 918 replaces a Lake Okeechobee pollution permitting program with more reliance on water cleanup plans, sets deadlines for establishing minimum flow levels for springs, sets timelines for springs cleanup plans and creates a statewide advisory council to recommend funding for water projects. Sen. Charlie Dean, a Republican from Inverness who is bill sponsor, said SB 918 is close to matching…

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Amendment 1 budget proposal prompts objections, heated exchange

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A Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman on Thursday presented a budget proposal that provides $22 million for land acquisition, prompting another Republican subcommittee member to charge that the proposal violated Amendment 1. Amendment 1 is a conservation spending initiative approved by 75 percent of voters in November. In 2015-16, the measure will provide $741.8 million, or 33 percent of documentary stamp revenue, for water and land conservation programs. State Sen. Alan Hays, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, recommended…

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Bond Amendment 1 revenue, free up cash for other enviro projects, says House chair

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A House appropriations subcommittee chair on Tuesday recommended bonding Amendment 1 revenue for land-buying while using a significant amount of the cash from the conservation spending initiative for existing environmental spending, debt service, land management and agricultural water programs. A key issue in the 2015 legislative session is how the Legislature will spend an estimated $757 million from the Amendment 1 water and land conservation spending initiative. Environmentalists expect the measure to boost conservation land buying but House Speaker Steve Crisafulli…

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