Florida House: Use conservation money on Everglades

Everglades National Park - A great egret in a cypress grove.jpg
Posted at 4:20 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 16:20:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida House wants to dedicate as much as $200 million a year on projects to help restore the state's fabled Everglades.

House Republicans on Tuesday announced their "Legacy Florida" initiative. It would require that each year that the state set aside conservation money for a variety of Everglades restoration projects.

The list would include projects that lessen the level of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into nearby estuaries. In recent years federal authorities have been criticized for discharging polluted water from the lake into Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River.

The "Legacy Florida" bill is sponsored by Rep. Gayle Harrell but it has the backing of top Republicans including House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican, said in a statement that he believed "consistent funding" will help preserve and protect the Everglades.