Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sierra Club Florida Opposes Massive Budget Cuts

Sierra Club Florida opposes the massive cuts to land planning and environmental protection in the Governor’s proposed budget.  Floridians understand that promoting a “race to the bottom” by eliminating protective regulations will exhaust our natural resources and taxpayers will be left holding the bag.  Ecosystems that support communities, businesses, and industry will no longer able to provide adequate clean water essential to our tourism, recreational and commercial fishing, and agricultural industries.  And communities will suffer when planning and funding for needed services like schools, roads, sewage treatment, and stormwater management are neglected.

The Dept. of Environmental Protection is given new responsibilities, including oversight of comprehensive plan amendments, but its funding is cut by almost 10% and 120 positions.   It is hard to see how the agency can do the job with the resources provided in the proposed budget.

The environment is an 'economic generator' that equals tourism, jobs, and economic growth.  

Data:
  • 35+ million...average number of Florida fishing trips per year
  • $18+ billion and 220,000+ jobs...Boating impact on Florida's economy
  • $5+ billion and 50,000+ jobs...Recreational saltwater fishing
    impact on Florida's economy
  • $2+ billion and 24,000+ jobs...Freshwater fishing impacts on
    Florida economy
  • $1 billion and 10,000+ jobs...Commercial saltwater fishing impact
    on Florida economy
See source here
Quality of Life Impact to Florida:
  • 36,000...people per day snorkel or dive coral reefs in South Florida
  • 41,000...people per day use coral reefs for fishing in South Florida
  • $4.36 billion...sales in 2001 related to coral reefs in South Florida
See source here           
Many drugs are now being developed from coral reef animals and plants
as possible cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections,
viruses, and other diseases.
See source here

We need to INCREASE money for the environment to protect and increase the value of these economic/job generators!

The Mather study shows that if we increase spending for Everglades restoration we get $4.04 back for every dollar invested!  Everglades Restoration would generate 442,664 jobs and generate.  It would increase our quality of life.