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Saturday, 27 June 2015 12:17

Big session for environment failed

Written by  Tampa Bay Times

Posted June 27, 2015

We highlight Crisafulli's name in following news report from Tampa Bay Times. --SCPA Editor


Talk of big legislative session for environment proved wrong

Tampa Bay Times, by Michael Auslen, June 20, 2015

TALLAHASSEE — Before a bitter dispute over health care funding ground the Legislature to a halt, this was going to be the year for water issues and the environment.

Four million voters had just passed Amendment 1, directing money to conservation. The new House speaker considered water policy among his top priorities, and economists projected a budget surplus. Plus, lawmakers pledged to pass legislation they said would protect springs and boost environmental spending.

"As our economy continues to improve, there will be huge increases of spending on environmental issues," House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said in January as he announced his joint agenda with the Senate president.

That never happened.

No meaningful environmental policy made its way into law, and the budget approved Friday by lawmakers during a special session includes $48 million less in environmental spending than they included last year.

"The environmental part of the session wasn't a bang — it was a whimper," said Eric Draper, executive director of the Florida Audubon Society. "It started out with big expectations and didn't produce."

Draper and other conservation advocates point to what they say are serious lapses in the Legislature's handling of environmental issues.

"On the whole, it's just clear there's a war on the environment in this state in terms of the attitude and the hostility," said Clay Henderson, an Orlando lawyer who helped write Amendment 1.

Among the victories environmental groups consider when looking back on both the regular and special session is that lawmakers made no harmful changes to state law. They say the failure of Crisafulli's signature water bill could be counted as a win because it would have done little to protect the environment. …



Amendment 1 lawsuite filed
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Compiled by Team SCPA


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