FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 4, 2015
Media Contact: Will Abberger, (850) 222-7911 ext. 23
Tallahassee, FL (February 4, 2015) - Last November, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, sending a clear message that state funding for water and land conservation should be a top budget priority for the Florida Legislature. The Amendment’s unprecedented 75 percent approval rating proved once again that protecting Florida’s natural heritage is truly a bipartisan issue.
“The voters’ message to the Legislature could not have been more clear. Use Amendment 1 money to protect Florida’s waterways and conservation lands – especially those lands that protect our waters at the source,” said Will Abberger, chair of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, the Amendment 1 sponsor committee.
“Across Florida, our undisturbed natural lands play a critical role in protecting our rivers, lakes, springs, and drinking water supplies. Protecting conservation lands is our first line of defense to protecting our water resources,” said Manley Fuller of the Florida Wildlife Federation. “Amendment 1 is intended to fund land conservation, not wastewater infrastructure and water supply development. There are other, more appropriate sources of revenue to meet those needs.”
“Florida’s existing conservation programs, like Florida Forever, have a long history of success and select projects through a rigorous process with objective selection criteria based on science, not politics,” said Laurie Macdonald, Florida Director of Defenders of Wildlife. “Amendment 1 funds should go towards these programs that best protect our natural areas – for water, wildlife, and people – and not earmarked on an ad hoc basis.”
The Florida Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee invited citizens to submit comments online regarding the allocation of Amendment 1 funds. So far, more than 3,800 comments have been submitted, showing that Florida voters remain very engaged and are closely monitoring the Legislature’s implementation of Amendment 1.
Read the Sponsor Committee's Position Statement and Recommendation for FY 16 Appropriations of Doc Stamps from Amendment 1.
Florida’s Water and Land Legacy (“FWLL”) is the sponsor committee of Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment. FWLL drafted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, collected nearly 1 million signatures to place Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot, and ran the successful voter education campaign that resulted in an overwhelming 75 percent approval of Amendment 1. FWLL was formed in response to severe cuts to popular and effective state conservation programs like Florida Forever and Everglades restoration. FWLL Steering Committee members are: 1000 Friends of Florida, Audubon Florida, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Defenders of Wildlife, Everglades Foundation, Florida Conservation Coalition, Florida Land Trust Alliance, Florida Wildlife Federation, League of Women Voters of Florida, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Sierra Club, The Conservation Fund, and Trust for Public Land.