TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Proposed bills that would allow for water privatization and redefining of private/public land would threaten the progress of the Everglades, according to former U.S. Senator Bob Graham.

During the inaugural meeting of the bipartisan Everglades Legislative Caucus in the Capitol, Graham said “the Everglades is water” and “water belongs to the people of Florida” and not private interests.

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For years the Everglades have suffered from the intrusion of housing developments and farms and have been polluted by urban and fertilizer runoff. State lawmakers cut Everglades restoration funding last year. They have also reduced taxes that fund water management districts and held back money from the Florida Forever land-buying program.

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Graham was a U.S. Senator from 1987-2005 and was governor from 1979-1987.

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