The Everglades Coalition over the weekend held its annual conference where the group unveiled its priorities for 2012.
Those priorities include: more funding for Everglades restoration, tougher anti-pollution water-quality standards to protect water supplies and buying more land for conservation and restoration.
The coalition also wants the state to follow through on plans to kick-start Everglades restoration projects aimed at storing and cleaning stormwater needed to replenish both the River of Grass and South Florida’s drinking water supply.
"Getting water flow right is enormously important," said Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice which is part of the coalition. "And so is protecting the water quality in Lake Okeechobee and in the rivers, streams and canals that flow into the Everglades. That’s why we continue to fight for clear, enforceable clean water standards."
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed state budget includes $15 million to buy land for conservation and $40 million for Everglades restoration, but that requires the approval of the Legislature.
The state in the past spent as much as $200 million a year on Everglades restoration.
More money for the Everglades could be a tough sell this year, when lawmakers face more potential budget shortfalls due to the struggling economy.
In addition to pushing for more Everglades funding, the environmental group 1000 Friends of Florida has raised concerns about proposed legislation that could lessen regulation of septic tanks, limit local regulations on polluting fertilizer and strip away more state growth management oversight.
1000 Friends of Florida also objects to a proposal to change regulations of treated wastewater, which the group contends could result in privatizing part of the state’s water supply.