WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders React to Governor Ron DeSantis’ Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


Environmental Leaders React to Governor Ron DeSantis’ Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis released his Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget, which continues historic levels of funding for the environment, including Everglades restoration, targeted water quality improvements, alternative water supply and innovative technologies. Here is what environmental leaders and stakeholders are saying about the proposed budget:

“We applaud Governor DeSantis for again including more than $625 million in recurring funding for Everglades restoration and clean water initiatives. His commitment of investing $2.5 billion over four years shows his unwavering dedication to our environment and his willingness to tackle our environmental problems that have been put on the back burner for far too long,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

“Governor DeSantis’ budget continues to demonstrate his commitment to our shared environmental priorities - $150 million for water quality improvements, $100 million for Florida Forever, $9 million for coral reef protections and $54 million for our precious state parks. We strongly support the Governor’s 2020 environmental budget,” said Temperince Morgan, executive director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

“Audubon is encouraged to see Governor DeSantis demonstrating his commitment to protecting Florida’s environment. The Governor's proposed budget includes significant recommendations for programs that address both water quality and quantity challenges across the state. Audubon supports the Governor’s recommendation for the state’s premier land buying program Florida Forever; strategic land acquisitions complement the critical water restoration programs that will help keep our state free from future algal blooms and water shortages. The Governor’s commitment to the Everglades remains unmatched, and his funding recommendations will ensure continued fast-paced progress on Everglades restoration,” said Beth Alvi, director of policy for Audubon Florida.

“With his 2020-2021 budget, Governor DeSantis continues his commitment to improving our state’s natural resources. Historic funding for Everglades restoration, water quality, and coral reefs, along with addressing blue-green algae and red tide impacts are so important to ensure that Florida remains a destination for the four million+ anglers who fish here each year. The $11.5 billion sportfishing industry is grateful for the Governor’s leadership and supports these priorities and this budget,” said Kellie Ralston, Southeast Fisheries Policy Directory, American Sportfishing Association.

“Governor DeSantis’ commitment to Everglades restoration and water quality will ensure Florida’s fishing and boating economies remain strong. Water is Florida’s most valuable resource. Investments in these resources are essential to the quality of life for all Floridians and visitors,” said Captain Daniel Andrews, executive director of Captains for Clean Water. 

“Governor DeSantis’ historic request for Everglades restoration and water quality is great news for Florida. With the Governor’s major investment recommendation, we will be able to continue expediting critical Everglades restoration projects like the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir and advance additional water quality project to address harmful blue-green algal blooms. The Governor’s leadership continues to bring significant momentum to the protection of the Florida Everglades and our state’s water quality,” said Drew Bartlett, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District.

“I think most Floridians would be surprised at just how much it takes to fix a broken water management system. The ‘status quo’ train doesn’t stop on a dime. It takes smart, timely and courageous actions to go after it. The Everglades Trust is grateful to Governor DeSantis for his strong environmental budget that continues record investments in Everglades restoration, as well as other critical environmental programs. We are hopeful the Legislature follows through and adopts the Governor’s budget recommendations, as the clock is ticking fast,” said Kimberly Mitchell, executive director of the Everglades Trust. 

“Governor DeSantis is to be applauded for a budget that clearly demonstrates his continued commitment since taking office for restoration, conservation, and sustainable use of Florida’s water resources and environment that are foundational to our prosperity as a state. Florida’s environment is diverse, with a coastline of ~1,350 miles, larger than any other of the lower 48 states. By protecting our ocean and coastal resources, we can ensure their continued economic benefit to the state and nation. We strongly support the Governor’s budget priorities that address environmental disasters of red tide, coral disease, and other complex issues in Florida’s oceans, by providing funding for innovative science, strategic restoration and monitoring, and strong partnerships. Mote welcomes the continued opportunity to serve in a leadership role for many of these efforts. The environmental leadership of Governor DeSantis is impressively guiding Florida towards improved use and conservation of Florida’s water and coastal ocean resources,” said Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium President & CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby.

“The Governor’s budget represents the best funding the environment has had in years, and we are hopeful that state leadership will secure this recurring funding for the next three fiscal years. The $100 million for Florida Forever, $322 million for Everglades restoration, $200 million for water quality initiatives and $100 million for springs and beaches are all critical budget items, and we hope the Florida legislature considers it and carries the initiatives and requests forward,” said Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society.