When Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a $70 million bill for Everglades restoration on Tuesday, he laid to rest an issue for the year that was notable mainly for not being an issue at all.
With traditional foes like the Everglades Foundation and the sugar industry on board, the 2013 Everglades legislation sailed through the House and Senate on unanimous votes.
This year’s compromise bill included the $70 million for restoration as well as a continuation of a $25 per acre tax on farmers at the northern end of the Everglades until 2026.
Environmental groups had hoped to raise the tax, which was due to expire next year.
“This is a long term commitment, we have a long term plan and this is going to do the right thing for the Everglades,” Scott said after signing the bill at a ceremony at Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in West Palm Beach, according to the News Service of Florida.
In a statement, Florida Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg said the bill provides funding for construction projects to ensure water quality standards in the Everglades are finally achieved.
“These projects will bring needed jobs to Florida and when completed will treat polluted water before it further destroys America’s Everglades,” Eisenberg said.