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Gov. Scott Proposes Restoring Everglades Funding

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Governor Rick Scott has proposed restoring some spending for environmentally sensitive land.

The proposal would put $40 million into Everglades restoration.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard said this amount “will allow Florida to keep the momentum going in the state-federal partnership to restore one of Florida’s most valuable natural treasures.”

This year the state put $30 million into the Everglades cleanup project. The Everglades Foundation called the increase “significant, and noted that the $30 million was only spent after lawmakers upped dramatically Scott’s recommendation last year for $17 million.

“The fact that Gov. Scott is willing to more than double his previous request for Everglades funding demonstrates his understanding that protecting the Everglades and our water supply is a necessary ingredient to growing our state’s economy,” said Kirk Fordham, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

The governor also proposed putting $15 million into the Florida Forever program, money that is currently surplus trust fund cash.

“Audubon is encouraged to see Gov. Scott make a commitment to Florida Forever and Everglades restoration in his 2012-2013 budget recommendation,” said the environmental group’s Julie Wraithmell in a statement. “As the Florida legislative session unfolds early next year, it is our hope that House and Senate leadership will use these amounts as a starting point that leads to increased funding for these critical programs.”

But Scott’s plan isn’t all good news. The governor has proposed shrinking DEP with a cut of more than 80 vacant positions and by reducing its budget by about $100 million.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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