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DeSantis backs $1.5 billion in Everglades funding in budget

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is earmarking more taxpayer dollars for popular environmental issues in the state, including the massive Everglades restoration, during his second term than he did in his first term
Everglades National Park
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday he will approve $1.5 billion in funding for Everglades restoration.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he will approve $1.5 billion directed towards Everglades cleanup that was included in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which he has not yet received.

“I am going through all the things in the budget right now. And there's a lot of different line items. ... Some are going to make it. Some are not going to make it,” DeSantis said during an appearance at Cox Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. “But what I can say here today is that I have approved in this upcoming fiscal year for ‘24-‘25, that I have approved another $1.5 billion for Everglades restoration and water quality treatments."

The funding includes $614 million for projects within the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, or CERP; $100 million towards the Indian River Lagoon; $45 million for Biscayne Bay and the Caloosahatchee Estuary; and $530 million for water quality improvement projects, including grants for septic-to-sewer conversions and wastewater treatment upgrades.

The funding is separate from a bill DeSantis has already signed that designates money from the Seminole Tribe of Florida into buying and maintaining land in a state wildlife corridor, removing invasive species and converting properties from using septic tanks to sewer systems.

The money from the Seminoles comes from a deal allowing the tribe to offer online sports betting statewide. The $117.46 billion budget (HB 5001) is among 164 bills from the 2024 legislative session that have not been delivered to DeSantis.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate agreed to 313 bills during the legislative session which ended March 8. DeSantis has signed 104 measures and vetoed two bills, while 43 others were awaiting his action as of Monday afternoon.