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2012 session summary: Environment and Natural Resources

Blue Spring. Photo Credit: systemslibrarian

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and Nathaniel P. Reed of Hobe Sound were among the speakers in November during an environmental rally outside the Capitol. They called on Gov. Rick Scott to show leadership on environmental issues and for the Legislature to undo some of the harmful law and budget changes they said occurred during 2011. Environmentalists didn't get what they were calling for, but they may have somewhat begun to turn the tide that has been running against the programs they support. Any success those groups enjoyed during the 2012 session may be better measured not by what was passed as by what didn't pass. Efforts to restrict local fertilizer ordinances and to encourage oil drilling on state lands failed. Other bills were modified to gain environmental support. However, a bill repealing the statewide requirement for septic tank inspections passed. The Sierra Club and Florida Stormwater Association opposed the bill's new restrictions on local septic tank inspection programs. Meanwhile, visitors to state trails and state parks could see advertising and herds of African wildlife. The Florida Forever land-buying program and Everglades restoration received some funding, but not as much as environmentalists had hoped. 

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