Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Act Now to Prevent Costly Cuts in Funding for Public Lands

On Jan. 8th, the state legislature announced that they would withdraw funding for land purchase and management in Florida immediately. The final legislative vote is Wednesday, January 14. The legislation will then go to Governor Crist for his signature. Please e-mail or fax Governor Crist TODAY to make the following requests. Make sure to copy the house and senate leadership and your local legislators on your correspondence. Numbers are critical to influence current and future decision-making. Commit to appropriation of adequate funding for Florida Forever, consistent with legislative intent reflected in passage of its extension during the 2008 session. Provide funds for Florida Forever land purchases that have been negotiated in good faith with land owners, and are ready to be executed. Delay will result in higher costs to taxpayers--land that now can be acquired at a reasonable cost will soon be much more costly or unavailable. Funding for land management must be continued for all state conservation lands, including any state lands proposed for temporary closure as a cost cutting measure, such as the 19 properties in the Florida State Park system. Interruption of management practices–including control of non-native nuisance species and prescribed burning–means increased future management costs for minimal current savings. Neglect of such lands can also result in uncontrolled fire events, and open properties to vandalism and citizen injury. Contact information for Legislators can be found at http://www.flsenate.gov/Welcome/ Towards the bottom of the left-side menu, go to “Find your Legislators” and type in your zip code. Governor Crist’s contact information is at http://www.flgov.com/contact_governor Visit SupportFloridaForever.org for up-to-date information on these issues

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