The ‘Stand Up for North Florida‘ group released a television ad Tuesday, designed to call attention to what it calls “the threat of the South Florida land buy, proposed by Senators Joe Negron and Rob Bradley, to the limited conservation funding resources available to the North Florida region.”
The group, which includes Rep. Jay Fant, has consistently posited that 90 percent of Amendment 1 dollars go to South Florida — despite North Florida’s water resources.
The television ad reiterates those claims.
“North Florida has precious water resources – lakes, rivers, springs and beaches – that desperately need protecting. There are limited funds available, and it is imperative we receive our fair share. Yet South Florida received more than 90 percent of the Amendment 1 funding for water projects last year,” commented former Rep. Steve Southerland, chairman of the group.
“The Negron-Bradley proposal will dedicate billions more of Amendment 1 dollars to South Florida, and Senator Negron has made clear he is determined to push this land buy through regardless of the impact on the rest of the state. Unfortunately,” Southerland continued, “the currently proposed amendment still does not solve the State’s problems, sends even more money to South Florida, and creates decades worth of debt. This is neither conservative or responsible.”
The group objects to Senate Bill 10. Filed by Republican Rob Bradley, the measure would bond money backed with Amendment 1 funds to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee for water storage.
$1.2 billion in bond proceeds would be used for the purchase of the land. The project is subject to congressional approval, and if that is granted as expected, the feds would offer a 50/50 match of that $1.2 billion.
Bradley, whose district includes much of what could be called North Florida, has his own region’s environmental preservation bill also.
Senate Bill 234 would annually earmark $35 million, minus money for debt service, for projects related to the St. Johns, its tributaries, and the Keystone Lake region.
Included among those projects: land management and acquisition, and recreational opportunity and public access improvements.
These bills look likely to do better in the Senate than in the House.
HB 761, the companion for SB 10, has yet to be agendaed in its first committee.
The same holds true for HB 847, the companion for SB 234