Florida Conservation Funding Voters Approved In 2014 Suffers Another Setback After Judge Sides With Obstructionist Legislature

Sierra Club and other conservation groups have been in court since 2015 fighting the Florida Legislature’s efforts to ignore the will of the voters to levy state tax money to revive the Florida Forever program to buy more conservation land before it’s gobbled up by new development.

It looks as though environmentalists will be in court awhile longer.

A Leon County judge ruled Monday in favor of the state, concluding the whole issue is moot because legislators already appropriated the money and conservation groups didn’t act quickly enough to stop them.

This is bizarre because judges have already ruled there wasn’t anything that could be done to undo previous budgets approved by the Legislature and the Governor, even if they did misappropriate the money . The issue has always been whether this foolishness should be allowed to continue in future budgets.

In response to the ruling, Sierra Club Florida stated the ruling essentially decided the will of Florida voters is meaningless and if the ruling stands it will allow legislators to continue thumbs their noses at voters and use money supposedly mandated for conservation as a slush fund for whatever they choose.

At stake in this litigation is the spending of an estimated $1 billion a year in land that should go to state and local land conservation programs instead of for pork barrel projects to subsidize the sugar and development industries, Sierra maintains.

“Sierra Club Florida calls on the Legislature to immediately drop their opposition to the lawsuit and get on with the job of protecting the environment and heritage upon which Floridians and the state’s economy depends,” the statement concluded.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.