TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A group of environmentalists is fighting to reverse policy changes that they say have jeopardized Florida’s water supply.
Turn on the tap and you expect safe drinking water, but that may not be the case soon according to a group of environmentalists and politicians who claim cuts to conservation programs threaten the water supply.
“2011 reversed 40 years of Florida’s progress in water and land conservation,” charged former U.S. Senator Bob Graham.
Graham now serves as head of the Florida Conservation Coalition. Graham says a 700 million dollar funding cut to the state’s five water management districts is destroying decades of conservation work. “The water management district which has represented the state in the federal state partnership has been striped in terms of its professionals, its funding and its authority.”
The cuts passed by lawmakers in May, resulted in hundreds of layoffs that included scientists and engineers.
Cutting the cash flow is also keeping the state from buying land for conservation near rivers and streams.
The cuts, helped state lawmakers balance the budget and give homeowners a 200 million dollar tax break, but environmentalists say you can’t put a price on clean water.
“We want to stop the harm that’s being done right now to the environment then we can start talking about what we need to do to start fixing things,” said Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida.
In an op-ed published Sunday, Governor Rick Scott wrote a healthy environment is key to Florida’s economy. The coalition plans to hold the governor to his words.
The coalition is also trying to defeat legislation that would allow utility companies to partially privatize the state’s water supply.
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