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Environmental groups in Florida have urged Gov. Rick Scott and state legislators to put their signatures on a "clean water declaration" and ensure the future supply of clean water through collaboration on anti-pollution measures, Tallahassee.com reported.
The call came last Wednesday during a news conference held outside the Capitol. Manley Fuller of the Florida Wildlife Federation pointed out that the state's economy was based on nature and clean water was critical for fish and wildlife resources and public health. It is therefore the duty of Florida's leaders to do everything in their power to clean up state waters, he said. Charles Pattison, president of 1000 Friends of Florida, described the declaration as a "citizens' water bill of rights," adding that the signatories did not view those as demands but inalienable rights.
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Over 50 organizations around Florida have signed the declaration. The document states that citizens of the state have the right to clean water in abundant supply for drinking, fishing and recreation. It is the responsibility of local leaders and companies to ensure the protection of Florida's waters and natural environment, the declaration also says.
The news conference was one of 16 such events taking place across Florida. It came as Scott announced that he would ask the Legislature to allocate $130 million for restoration projects in the Everglades. A day earlier, the governor also called for $55 million from the new budget to be earmarked for protection and restoration of endangered freshwater springs in Florida.