TALLAHASSEE – Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael W. Sole today commended Governor Charlie Crist’s budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2010-11. Highlighting projects that will secure Florida’s economic future, the Governor proposed a $2.1 billion investment in Florida’s environment, including the Florida Forever land conservation program, renewable energy, water supply, Everglades restoration, and state park improvements.
“Governor Crist is again demonstrating environmental commitment to our state, providing $2.1 billion to fund critical programs to preserve land, protect our water supply and restore the Everglades,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “Thanks to the Governor and Lt. Governor’s leadership, Florida continues to safeguard its present and future economy, improve our quality of life, and protect our natural resources.”
The Governor Crist’s proposed 2010-11 budget includes:
- Florida Forever – Since 1963, Florida has committed more than $7.5 billion to preserve and conserve roughly 3.8 million acres of land. However, the program was temporarily halted last year due to economic challenges. This year, the proposed budget revives Florida Forever by recommending $50 million to continue the preservation of Florida’s unique natural resources and wildlife.
- Green Energy Technologies – To ensure continued progress toward advancing Florida’s energy future and growing Florida’s low-carbon economy, the budget includes $10 million for solar energy rebates. Additionally, almost all of $176 million in federal funding received in Fiscal Year 2009-10 will be expended this year in the following ways:
- $126 million for the State Energy Program, providing opportunities for state agencies, local governments and businesses to deploy renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, resulting in economic development and job growth in Florida’s clean technology sector. Projects will include:
- Solar for Schools and Shelters, $10 million
- Solar Energy (Water Heating) Loans, $10 million
- Solar Energy Rebate Program, $14.4 million
- E-85/B20 Biofuel Availability at Public Fueling Stations - Conversion Revolving Loans, $5 million
- Compressed Natural Gas Fleet Fueling Facilities - Matching Grants, $4 million
- Florida Residential Retrofit Program, $15 million
- Shovel Ready Energy Project Grants, $ 19.5 million
- Florida Clean Energy Grants, $10 million
- Florida Energy Opportunity Fund, $36 million
- $30.4 million for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to assist local governments, state agencies and citizens with programs to reduce fossil fuel emissions, total energy use, and improve energy efficiency in transportation, building and other sectors. Projects will include:
- Competitive Grants to Local Governments, $18.6 million
- Sunshine State Buildings Initiative, $8.4 million
- Energy Conservation Initiatives and Program Administration, $3.2 million
- $17.5 million for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate program to provide consumer rebates for qualifying new ENERGY STAR appliances. Visit Energy Star for more information on the rebate program.
- $1.8 million for the Energy Assurance Grant Program to develop new energy emergency response plans and revise existing ones to address Smart Grid applications and vulnerabilities, critical infrastructure, cyber security and energy supply systems.
- Everglades Restoration – Continuing his focus on protecting the health of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and their estuaries, Governor Crist proposed $50 million to ensure that Everglades projects will continue to restore a more natural water flow for this unique ecosystem and improve water quality and water supplies for all of South Florida. Lake Okeechobee is the upstream water source for the Everglades and provides the water supply for nearby towns, agricultural operations and downstream ecosystems. The lake supports a multi-million dollar recreational and commercial fishery, as well as flood control for surrounding communities. During the past three years, Governor Crist has signed budgets designating $300 million toward Everglades restoration.
- Sustainable Water Resources – To ensure adequate quantities of water to support Florida’s population growth and environmental health, Governor Crist proposed $20 million in matching funds for wastewater and drinking water revolving-loan programs and alternative water supply projects, as well as $6 million for water quality programs vital to Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
- Underground Petroleum Tank Cleanup and State Park Repairs – To ensure the health and safety of Floridians and visitors, Governor Crist proposed $144 million to clean up underground petroleum tanks and $29.2 million to remediate and restore other previously contaminated sites. The Governor also proposed $11.2 million for repairs and renovations to existing state park facilities.
For additional details on the Governor’s recommended Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget, visit
www.MyFlorida.com and click on “The People’s
Budget,” or visit www.ThePeoplesBudget.state.fl.us.
"Governor Crist is again demonstrating environmental commitment to our state, providing $2.1 billion to fund critical programs to preserve land, protect our water supply and restore the Everglades."
Michael W. Sole