A Senate panel has approved a plan to appropriate new dollars for the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs. But the proposal could wind up vying for funding with a beach restoration measure.
Under the measure backed by Senator Rob Bradley, the St. Johns River will get $50 million a year and funding for the state’s springs will jump from $50 to $75 million. But the Fleming Island Republican admits those commitments will have to contend with a beach re-nourishment measure proposed by Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala.
“Chairman Latvala is absolutely right—there’s a limited pie of environmental dollars and we’re going to have to figure out where to put them,” Bradley says. “But I would like the discussion to include and respectfully ask that the discussion include these matters.”
For his part Latvala says, “At some point in time—probably in the Appropriations Committee—we’ll have to put all those bills that we have this year, and the bills that we’ve passed over the last couple cycles on one sheet and figure out how we divide it up.”
Latvala chairs that committee, and by nature of the position, he controls the purse strings in the Senate. Latvala’s bill gained approval in the same committee. It would devote $50 million a year to beach restoration.