Florida Wildlife Federation

Time has run out for a program that's provided funding to more than 180 natural areas in Florida.

Sunday, Sept. 30 was the deadline for Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Money from the fund is used to create and maintain city, county and state parks, marinas, protected forests and historic battlefields in Florida and across the country. The fund is supported by fees on offshore oil and gas drilling.

wp paarz / Flickr

Arguing that time “is of the essence,” environmental groups Wednesday requested that a judge lift a stay of a ruling that found state lawmakers did not properly carry out a 2014 constitutional amendment that requires spending on land and water conservation.

A national conservation fund that has been around for more than 50 years may not be around much longer. Environmental advocates from around the country - includling Florida - are pressuring Congress to renew the program.

Alachua County Environmental Conservation

An appeals court this week turned down a request by environmental groups to quickly move a major conservation-funding case to the Florida Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the state House and Senate last month appealed a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling that said lawmakers did not properly carry out a 2014 constitutional amendment that requires spending on land and water conservation.

Associated Press

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.