WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor Ron DeSantis’ Continued Environmental Commitment through the Framework for Freedom Budget

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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor Ron DeSantis’ Continued Environmental Commitment through the Framework for Freedom Budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Framework for Freedom Budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24, which includes over $3.8 billion for Florida’s environment and reinforces the state’s commitment to Everglades restoration, water quality protections, vital land acquisitions, and resilience of inland and coastal communities.  

Read what environmental leaders and stakeholders are saying: 

“In this budget we once again see evidence of the unwavering support of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to the betterment of our environment. The continuation of historic levels of funding will enable us to continue to do our utmost to protect and restore Florida's environment, both today and for generations to come.” – Dr. Mark Rains, Chief Science Officer, State of Florida.

"From Apalachicola Bay to Florida’s Coral Reef, the Framework for Freedom Budget marks yet another milestone toward protecting and restoring Florida's environment. Through this record support, Governor DeSantis is not just conserving Florida's natural heritage, but he also is advancing transformative investments that strengthen community resilience, enhance economic opportunity and boost Floridians' quality of life." – Dr. Wesley Brooks, Chief Resilience Officer, State of Florida.

“We are grateful to Governor DeSantis for demonstrating his constant support of America’s Everglades by signing a budget that fully funds Everglades restoration efforts. Governor DeSantis recommended significant funding for Everglades restoration, and the Florida Legislature delivered by including historic funding in its budget to advance restoration projects for the benefit of Floridians and Florida’s tourism and water-based economy. Governor DeSantis is putting those dollars into action with the signing of the budget. We are so thankful to Governor Ron DeSantis for investing in restoration. He has truly earned the title of America’s Everglades Governor.” – Anna Upton, Chief Executive Officer, Everglades Trust.

“Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis for signing the Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget, which provides significant funding for restoring America’s Everglades. It is because of Governor DeSantis’ resounding commitment that we are seeing such meaningful progress in Everglades restoration. We also extend our gratitude to the Florida Legislature for including this pivotal funding in the budget crafted during the 2023 session. We look forward to seeing these dollars make a tangible impact on the Everglades and are grateful to Governor DeSantis for continuing to make Everglades restoration a top priority in the state of Florida.” – Eric Eikenberg, Chief Executive Officer, Everglades Foundation.

"Restoring Florida’s Everglades is critical for clean water coast-to-coast and builds the resiliency of our ecology and economy. Governor DeSantis has prioritized Everglades restoration since his first day in office, and this budget not only reinforces his commitment but also continues the momentum needed to bring this effort across the finish line." – Capt. Daniel Andrews, Executive Director, Captains for Clean Water. 

“This is a landmark budget for Florida’s natural resources. Bonefish & Tarpon Trust applauds Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for securing an amazing $1.6 billion for our state’s lands and waters, with a focus on Everglades restoration, the Indian River Lagoon, water quality protections, and corals. We’ve made great progress on our environment over the last four years, and this budget continues those efforts to meaningfully address our habitat and water quality challenges statewide and are key to ensuring the health of our iconic fisheries and our on-the-water way of life.” – Jim McDuffie, President and CEO, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership through Executive Order 23-06, a vision was set in motion that led to the budget that was signed appropriating historic levels of funding for Indian River Lagoon. These dollars will position the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and partners to do great work in the coming year as we move forward and restore the Indian River Lagoon. The Indian River Lagoon Council looks forward to working with the department in implementing the Indian River Lagoon Protection Program.” – Dr. Duane De Freese, Executive Director, The Indian River Lagoon Council and the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program.

“Audubon celebrates this budget's investments in Everglades restoration, land conservation through the Florida Forever program, and the special focus on investments in our iconic estuaries such as the Indian River Lagoon, Caloosahatchee, Biscayne Bay and more. These elements will help protect water quality and our state’s natural infrastructure, making communities more resilient in the face of climate change. Investments in Florida's environment are an investment in our quality of life and prosperity.” – Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida. 

“We are pleased to see Governor DeSantis sign Florida’s budget for this year which has significant appropriations for environmental restoration and water quality initiatives, including record funding for Everglades restoration, the Indian River Lagoon and land conservation throughout the state.” – Mark Perry, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Oceanographic Society. 

“Our vibrant ecosystems, from the delicate coral reefs to the lush wildlands, are the irreplaceable foundations of our state’s unique identity and invaluable treasures that sustain both nature and humanity. By prioritizing conservation efforts and providing adequate resources, we safeguard the very essence of Florida's beauty, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come, and we thank Governor DeSantis for his commitment to conserve Florida.” – Greg Knecht, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

“The Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation thanks Governor DeSantis and Florida House and Senate leadership for their support in securing a historic commitment to land conservation. With unprecedented funding and many dedicated conservation partners, critical connections within the corridor will be saved. The funding will enable significant progress in key regions in the corridor, including in Southwest Florida and Ocala to Osceola, and takes an important step toward consistent, meaningful funding for state land acquisition programs. We are grateful that these Florida leaders have routinely recognized the need to prioritize conservation now to protect wild Florida for future generations.” – Mallory Dimmitt, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.

“Conservation Florida celebrates the historic $1 billion investment in land conservation signed by Governor DeSantis in the Framework for Freedom budget. This year’s funding brings Florida’s total commitment to land conservation to over $2 billion over the last three years. This monumental funding for our state’s most successful land conservation programs showcases Florida’s commitment to conserving land and protecting a functional Florida Wildlife Corridor for future generations. We applaud the Governor and the Florida Legislature for their leadership and vision to fund conservation at a pace commensurate with the loss of critical green space. It’s an unprecedented win for Florida and our conservation future.”– Traci Deen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Conservation Florida.

“Governor Ron DeSantis continues to deliver for Florida. The budget continues breaking records for the protection of our water resources and restoration of the Everglades. Florida’s budget includes the state’s largest investment ever in Everglades restoration, adding even more infrastructure to move water south and reduce harmful discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee. This budget represents a promise kept for continuing to protect Florida’s environment and our water resources. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for taking bold action on funding solutions for Everglades restoration, resiliency and water quality.” – Scott Wagner, Vice Chairman, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.

“Since his first day in office, Governor DeSantis has been focused on delivering funding and meaningful legislation to help restore and protect Florida’s waterways and natural resources. The Framework for Freedom Budget is no exception to that. We look forward to working with our state and local partners to implement vital projects that address nutrient pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and other critical waterways throughout the state.” – Mike Register, Executive Director, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board.

“We greatly appreciate that Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature continue to place a major emphasis on Florida’s water resources and environment. As our state continues to grow at a record pace, funding for the development of alternative water supplies is crucial to ensure Florida’s current and future residents can enjoy a safe, sustainable water supply that also protects the environment.” – Brian Armstrong, Executive Director, Southwest Florida Water Management District.

“We applaud the leadership and vision of Governor DeSantis for addressing water quality issues throughout the state. As we work diligently to protect the precious natural resources in northwest Florida, Framework for Freedom funding will greatly enhance our efforts.” – Lyle Seigler, Executive Director, Northwest Florida Water Management District.

“We appreciate Governor DeSantis for including funding in this year’s budget that will go toward protecting the springs and water resources of the Suwannee River Water Management District and of the state. Water is a vital part of Florida’s continued growth, and this funding will help preserve our natural resources for generations to come.” – Hugh Thomas, Executive Director, Suwannee River Water Management District.