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Florida Lawmakers, Environmentalists Clash On Amendment 1

The Everglades. Photo courtesy the National Parks Conservation Association.

Senate President Andy Gardiner is calling for transparency and accountability on Amendment 1 as the Legislature prepares to reconvene next week in a special session.

His comments come as environmentalists plan rallies statewide Saturday including in Orlando and Melbourne.

Gardiner says some lawmakers are introducing measures that would help Floridians track Amendment 1 spending and ensure it goes toward conservation.

He says the spending should include land management and land acquisition.

“We have a very bad habit, the state does, and local governments go in, you buy a piece of property, you put up a fence and say, do not enter. Could you through land management have access through parks and trails?”

Amendment 1 is the state constitutional amendment 75 percent of voters supported in November. It puts an estimated $22 billion toward conservation over 20 years.

But environmentalists say budget proposals don’t include enough spending on land acquisition. They’re holding rallies in Orlando, Melbourne and seven other Florida cities to press lawmakers on the issue.

Aliki Moncrief is executive director of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, the sponsoring organization of Amendment 1.

“They really have a simple message for our Legislature. It’s a simple to-do list. They want to make sure there’s more money for Florida Forever. They want our legislators to put money into Everglades restoration, and they want our legislators to protect our springs.”

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »