MIAMI HERALD: Roadblock for Miami-Dade parkway plan? Feds own big chunks of wetlands along the routeMIAMI HERALD: Written by Jenny Staletovich. June 19, 2018. When Miami-Dade County commissioners vote Wednesday on whether to allow the Dolphin Expressway to snake across wetlands where the federal government has bought large tracts as part of Everglades protection plans, one question remains unclear: whether the federal government will agree to surrender the land. Over decades of trying to fix the Everglades, the Department of Interior has agreed only once before to lifting restrictions on four parcels. And that deal enabled restoration work elsewhere. But if commissioners clear the way for a $650 million highway extension of State Road 836, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority will need to acquire many more acres in the Bird Drive wetlands outside Miami-Dade's urban development boundary in a rare bid to swap wetlands for pavement. The request would be almost unprecedented. Other than the deal approved this year that lifted restrictions on about 45 acres in the basin and Broward wetlands, Interior officials have only agreed to two other limited transfers of deed restrictions, said Stephen Collins, real estate director for the South Florida Water Management District. Continue reading "Roadblock for Miami-Dade parkway plan? Feds own big chunks of wetlands along the route"read more
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Judge sides with environmentalists, says lawmakers failed to comply with Amendment 1Tampa Bay Times: Written by News Service of Florida. June 15, 2018. Striking a blow to the Legislature, a Tallahassee judge said state lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands. Ruling from the bench Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers "defied" the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing — allegations legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed as they continued to make such budget allocations. David Guest — a lawyer representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, the Sierra Club and Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller — called Dodson's Friday bench ruling a "100 percent victory." Continue reading "Judge sides with environmentalists, says lawmakers failed to comply with Amendment 1"read more
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