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Water-Related News

Environmental groups wary of Florida Senate’s ‘Heartland’ plan

Critics contend the money could be broadly used under the bill, going beyond the intent of a 2014 voter-approved constitutional amendment.

TALLAHASSEE – Florida lawmakers could further carve up the use of voter-approved conservation money, after a Leon County circuit judge this month rejected a challenge by environmental groups to how money has been spent.

The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved a measure (Senate Bill 1400) that would provide $20 million a year to help protect the headwaters of several waterways in Central Florida.

The bill would help carry out a 2017 law known as the Heartland Headwaters Protection and Sustainability Act, which was designed to protect the headwaters of the Alafia, Hillsborough, Kissimmee, Ocklawaha, Peace and Withlacoochee rivers in the Green Swamp and Polk County. The bill points, at least in part, to concerns about future water supplies in the region.