Governor Rick Scott proposed $130 million in state funding for more Everglades restoration projects on Wednesday. The governor’s plan includes re-routing water in and around Lake Okeechobee and speeding up the completion of other projects underway in South Florida.
Also Wednesday, environmentalists across the state held rallies at 15 different locations, including the state capitol, to sign a petition calling for government action on water issues.
State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Tallahassee Democrat, signed a “Clean Water Declaration,” saying Florida’s long-term future depends on safe water.
"We can’t put forward even a healthy workforce if we don’t have healthy water and clean air", Vasilinda said. "That really comes to touch on jobs, the economy, healthcare... all those kinds of things.”
Despite a rocky relationship with Scott in the past over water and other “green” issues, most of the environmentalists say they're just happy to see funding for Florida’s natural habitat as a priority of the current administration, regardless of politics.
The Everglades funding request comes just one day after Scott announced his budget will set aside $55 dollars to clean up freshwater springs in central and north Florida.
One major part of Scott's plan would redo a portion of the Tamiami Trail between Naples and Miami, allowing water to flow south to the River of Grass more easily.