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Politics

Rick Scott Wants Billions for Environment

January 26, 2015 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his ambitious plan for environmental spending Monday, announcing more than $5 billion for the Everglades over the next 20 years.

Scott attributed the success of protecting natural resources with the health of Floridas economy.

"Florida has an abundance of natural resources that help create a foundation for our growing economy, whether it is driving our states tourism industry or providing a great quality of life that has attracted families to our state for generations," Scott said during the announcement. "We will keep working to make sure we preserve our natural treasures so Florida can continue to be a top destination for families, visitors and businesses.

During a stop in Miami, the governor also revealed $150 million for the Florida Forever program, as part of his Keep Florida Working budget, which will be released in its entirety this week. Florida Forever is a land buying and management program.

The second-term Republican governor has become one of the biggest environmental champions to occupy the mansion. In 2013, the Legislature passed Scotts Everglades Restoration Strategies plan, which will put nearly a billion dollars into restoration work over the next decade. During the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Scott even compared his environmental-spending record to his opponents, former Gov. Charlie Crist, as part of his Lets Keep Florida Beautiful plan.

With Tuesdays announcement, the governor is also planning to help the coastal estuaries by funding the states share of Kissimmee River restoration as well as the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs that are key to helping the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.

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