Letter: State lands bills stink

Added by Protect Paynes Prairie

For those of you who are interested in the details of SB1290. It will be heard soon by the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. Ask them to oppose it.
Chair: Senator Alan Hays (R) (850) 487-5011,
Vice Chair: Senator Oscar Braynon, II (D) (850) 487-5036,
Senator Thad Altman (R) (850) 487-5016,
Senator Charles S. “Charlie” Dean, Sr. (R) (850) 487-5005,
Senator Tom Lee (R) (850) 487-5024,
Senator Gwen Margolis (D)(850) 487-5035
Senator Wilton Simpson (R) (850) 487-5018.

Begin Letter to the Editor

Two very bad state lands bills (HB 1075 and SB 1290) are moving through legislative committees this session. These bills stink and we need to let our delegation members know it because they will dramatically change the way our public lands are managed.

They would allow Florida Forever funds (Amendment 1 money) to be used for construction of water supply development projects (pumps and pipes).

They would change land management plans from being compatible with the original purpose for which the land was purchased to being compatible with conservation or recreation. This — along with Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson’s plans for timbering, hunting, cattle grazing in state parks and limiting citizen input on management plans — will allow DEP to focus on profit-making ventures in Florida’s award-winning state parks to the detriment of the parks and communities around them.

They would require conservation lands be considered for surplusing if the short-term goals in the land management plan haven’t been achieved, if the land isn’t actively managed, or if the land management plan is incomplete. None of this has anything to do with the conservation values of the land and may be the result of inadequate funding or having the wrong agency assigned to manage it.

The bills would also allow an exchange between the state and a private property owner whose land is adjacent to state conservation land to get all or part of the conservation land in return for giving the state a permanent conservation easement over both the private property owner’s land and the state-owned land.

Let your legislators know you are opposed to these bills.

Marian and John Ryan

Winter Haven

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