Conservation Funding Fight Goes to Supreme Court

Dan Environment, Florida, Water


(NSF) — Environmental groups are going to the Florida Supreme Court in a long-running legal battle about whether state lawmakers have properly carried out a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to boost land and water conservation.

The groups filed a notice Friday that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to decide the case. As is common, the notice does not detail arguments the groups will make at the Supreme Court.

The battle stems from a constitutional amendment that requires the state to set aside a portion of real-estate taxes for land and water conservation efforts. Environmental groups allege that the Legislature did not properly carry out the amendment and diverted money to other uses, such as agency expenses.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with the environmental groups, but that decision was overturned in September by the 1st District Court of Appeal. The appellate court said Dodson erred when he ruled that money from the amendment could only be used on land purchased after the voter-approved measure took effect. The appeals court last month denied a request by the environmental groups for a rehearing.

Source: News Service of Florida