Environmental budget negotiations crumble; hopes for Florida Forever revived
By Isadora Rangel
April 29, 2017
TALLAHASSEE — Negotiations on the state’s environmental budget fell apart Saturday after the House offered to ax a proposal to help the Indian River Lagoon and other water restoration projects.
Environmentalists, however, see a silver lining in the meltdown. They hope a previous agreement to slash the budget for a land preservation program could be open for renegotiation.
The chairmen of House and Senate committees in charge of allocating dollars for natural resources seemed to be making headway in the past two days. Among their agreements was cutting all funds for the Florida Forever program to acquire land for conservation areas, much to environmentalists’ dislike.
But when the House backpedaled Saturday on other items it previously had agreed to with the Senate, or where the two chambers were close to a deal, Senate Chairman Rob Bradley decided to annul all agreements or offers. It’s now up to the chambers’ main budget chairmen to negotiate a final budget and have it ready for a vote by Friday’s end of session.