In a continuation of her campaign for the protection of Florida’s natural resources, Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) has filed two bills to preserve and maintain Florida’s land and water resources.
Senate Bill 928, Land Acquisition Trust Fund, would set a statutorily mandated recurring $300 million with the purpose of securing lands for preservation. Each year the Florida Forever Priority List and Work Plan is developed by the Board of Trustees and the Division of State Lands to target specific lands for acquisition by the state.
“By setting this minimum funding the state is better equipped to plan for long term maintenance and preservation of our unique ecosystems,” said Stewart. “As we more frequently witness the effects of climate change the need for preservation and proper stewardship of our environment only becomes more obviously necessary.”
In addition to advocating to preserve our resources Senator Stewart has filed Senate Bill 930, Water Extraction Tax, to fund proper maintenance of Florida’s vital aquifer. A one-thousandth of a cent per-gallon extracted would be remitted for commercial or industrial use. Monies collected from the tax would be deposited into the Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund and used for programs to stop nutrient pollution and conserve and protect our current water supply.
“Our fresh water is our states most valuable natural resource. We currently give away hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day for only the cost of an extraction permit,” said Stewart. With the state’s population ever increasing and the strain on our aquifer from consumption, nutrient pollution, and saltwater intrusion it’s critical that we create a stable funding source to ensure we all have access to fresh water for the foreseeable future.”