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The tree-huggers are taking a few jabs at Disney for concocting a fake Florida spring as the centerpiece of the new storyline for the resort's dining and shopping complex.

"Disney Springs makes a mockery of Florida's natural springs and the rural lifestyle it intends to mimic," said the director of Florida Defenders of the Environment.

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This is why some environmentalists get labeled as tree-huggers.

They couldn't see the forest if they drove straight into it with a Volkswagen Microbus.

Disney isn't the culprit behind Florida's ailing natural springs.

Springs are dying because politicians in counties, cities and Tallahassee have conspired to ignore the problem.

They let more construction happen near fragile springs. That means more septic tanks in the ground and more lawns sucking up fertilizer.

So long crystal clear water. Hello green algae.

Frustration aimed at Disney is misdirected.

"We're pretty much speechless here at Earthjustice's Florida office," wrote David Guest, the group's lead attorney in an August blog post.

"We've been in court for over 15 years trying to get leaders to put limits on the pollution that's wrecking these springs—our drinking water—and who knew, we could have just waited for a giant corporation like Disney to just build us a new environment!"

Does he also think the real Mount Everest has been corrupted because Disney built a fake mountain for its Expedition Everest roller coaster?

Are real African savannas harmed because people can ride in a glorified golf cart and spot warthogs and white rhinos at Animal Kingdom?

Disney specializes in make believe.

Everybody knows that.

You may not know is that Disney is also one of Florida's better stewards of the environment.That's from one of the state's leading voices for such causes.

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"I just wish more major Florida corporations had the environmental record of Disney," said Charles Lee of Audubon Florida.

He credits Disney with having the foresight in the 1960s and 70s to protect much of the wetlands inside Walt Disney World, which sits on the watershed of Reedy Creek or the uppermost headwaters of the Everglades.

"Drainage was engineered to retain water in the swamps of the Disney tract," Lee said. "Back in that day, when few permits and little environmental review were required for anything, a typical project of this kind would have drained all the wetlands within its boundaries."

And as Disney has sought permission to destroy some of those wetlands, its' purchased other land for conservation.

The company bought an old ranch south of Kissimmee that was slated to be turned into more than 11,000 acres of homes and other development. The land, known as the Disney Wilderness Preserve, was restored for wildlife habitat.

Last year Disney bought an additional 3,000 acres of land in Osceola and Polk counties to set aside for preservation as it seeks permission to develop more wetlands.

Disney Springs, which will open next year, will include information about real springs.

At least Disney aims to minimize its impact on the land. The same can't be said for the Florida Legislature.

Lawmakers for years have avoided setting limits on leaky septic tanks and how much water can be pumped out of the ground.

Back in 2010 the Legislature passed mandatory inspections of septic tanks, only to repeal the law a couple years later.

In November voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 1, which set aside state money for water and land conservation. But exactly how that money is divvied up is left to lawmakers.

We all know that means the whole thing could turn into a joke.

The groups who were off base in criticizing Disney are right on another point:

"One thing I'll say about Disney — at least Disney is honest about its fakery," Guest of Earthjustice wrote. "The real make-believe is coming out of our Florida government, which pretends to care about the devastation on our springs ..."

Now there's something to get mad about.

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