FNPS object to catastrophic changes in land protection proposed by SB 1084
Release Date: 2024-02-08
Action Deadline: 2024-02-21
Yesterday afternoon SB 1084 was amended to include awful sections from another bill that would allow the state to surplus lands in the Florida Wildlife Corridor with just a conservation easement held by FDACS to protect them. We wrote a letter to Senator Brodeur this morning - the bill will be heard in committee today at 2pm.
February 8, 2024
Delivered via email
Subject: Objection to Surplus Land Provisions in SB 1084, FDACS
Dear Senator Brodeur:
As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General
Government, you will preside today over a discussion of SB 1084, entitled Florida Department
of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Florida Native Plant Society objects to the
provisions of SB 1084 that would fundamentally corrupt Florida’s entire approach to land
conservation by opening the door to a fire sale of lands acquired for conservation in order to
fund the purchase of agricultural conservation easements through the Rural and Family Lands
Protection Program (RFL).
Floridian’s have been steadfast in support of land conservation for the last several decades.
Their longstanding support is largely a function of the transparency and accountability built into
the acquisition process, which has executed thousands of individual purchases with nary a hint
of scandal or controversy. SB 1084 would allow the thorough vetting that preceded the
purchase of lands for conservation purposes to be cast aside, without requiring an equivalent
assessment to determine whether the lands no longer merit protection under state ownership.
The Florida Forever Program, and RFL, serve as complementary approaches to land
conservation. Together, they accommodate various levels of land protection based on the
site-specific natural resource values the state seeks to conserve. Some agricultural lands have
significant natural resource values, and can be important for filling gaps and maintaining
connectivity within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. RFL easements can achieve the necessary level
of protection; but they are no substitute for the protection achieved through fee-title ownership.
Put simply, swapping fee-title ownership for an agricultural easement is a losing proposition for
the people, and natural resources, of Florida. As a mechanism for funding the RFL program, this
bill is extraordinarily ill-conceived. Please put a stop to this horribly misguided measure by
excising any of the surplus land provisions.
Eugene Kelly, Chair of Policy and Legislation
cc: Members of the Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Gov
Release date: 08-02-2024