Two Panhandle lawmakers call Joe Negron’s land-buy plan shortsighted

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Republican Sen. Greg Evers and Rep. Mike Hill put out a joint press release Thursday calling incoming Senate President Joe Negron’s plan to purchase South Florida farmland for water storage “shortsighted.”

Negron’s plan calls for $2.4 billion in state and federal dollars to purchase about 60,000 acres of farmland to divert tainted polluted from discharging into South Florida waterways. Evers and Hill, both Panhandle Republicans, said the strategy wouldn’t fix the problem and may cause North Florida conservation projects to go unfunded.

“Today, I’m calling on all elected officials and business leaders in North Florida to stand up for North Florida’s water and North Florida taxpayers,” Evers said in the release. “I want to send a strong message to those who wish to take us for granted — our water interest and our tax dollars are as important as those in South Florida and we will not allow you to discount our worth.”

Evers said the plan, as it stands, “will cost billions of dollars, take decades, and still not fix South Florida’s problem” while it could put the rest of the states conservation funding at risk.

Hill echoed Evers, adding that any water management strategy “should be based on sound science.”

“It should ensure that it compares the quality of the water before implementation, and include what is expected after implementation, to ensure a justifiable expenditure of resources,” Hill said.

Hill is currently running for Evers’ seat in the Senate, which he is giving up to run for Congress. Hill faces fellow Rep. Doug Broxson in the Republican Primary for the seat.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.