Target: Rick Scott, Governor of Florida
Goal: Keep federal protection for the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
The Florida state government has put through a proposal to take back ownership of the 144,000 acre Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in the Everglades. If this proposal goes through, environmental advocates worry that the state will ease up on water pollution and cleanup regulations, which would benefit the local sugar industry. Evicting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would also mean that the wildlife in the refuge would lose federal protection. This could be devastating for the 250 species of birds that currently nest there. Giving the refuge back to the state could also mean large budget cuts and closure of public facilities, leading to a decline in the area’s tourism industry.
Florida’s leaders argue that it is necessary for them to take back the refuge because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has let invasive trees and vines grow wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to clean up these plants, but it has admitted it won’t meet its 2017 deadline of removing the plants. But if control of the refuge went to the state government, the burden of the $25 million cleanup would fall on Florida taxpayers, rather than being spread through federal taxpayers as it is now. The best solution for both Florida taxpayers and for the wildlife refuge is for the state and federal agencies to work together on the cleanup.
To best serve the wildlife in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the taxpayers who will have to burden the cost of a major cleanup, the refuge should remain in the hands of the federal government. Sign this petition to demand that Governor Rick Scott keeps federal protection on the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
Dear Mr. Scott,
I’m writing to ask you to not take back the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge from the federal government. As a national refuge, the 250 species of birds that nest in the area are all offered federal protection. The refuge also provides clean water to its neighboring towns. If federal protection is taken away, the water could become polluted. Taking away federal protection could also lead to closure of public facilities, which could mean a decline in the booming tourism industry.
I understand that you are worried about the invasive species that have grown wild, but taking back the refuge is not the right solution. If the state takes over, the $25 million cleanup will have to be paid solely by Florida taxpayers. Now, that expense is spread through federal taxpayers. It would be much more effective for the state and federal agencies to work together on the cleanup.
The 144,000 acre Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge needs federal protection in order for it to continue thriving. For the good of the wildlife that call the area home and for the people who depend on the refuge’s water, I urge you not to take federal protection away from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen