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Bus Tour Will Push Water Storage Plans

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National Parks Conservation Association

The Everglades Foundation on Wednesday intends to start a 12-day bus tour across Central and South Florida to push state and federal lawmakers to fund water-storage plans south of Lake Okeechobee.

The bus tour, which will start with an event in Miami, is scheduled to roll into Orlando on Thursday and Tampa on Friday. The tour will support the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 2000. Also, it will support a $2.4 billion proposal by incoming state Senate President Joe Negron to buy 60,000 acres of sugar-farm land south of the lake to help reduce toxic algae blooms in Southeast Florida waterways.

Negron's proposal, which would require a 50-50 funding match between the state and federal government, already has drawn opposition from a number of Panhandle lawmakers, who view the proposed funding as a potential shift of money away from protecting waters in North Florida.

Additional foundation stops on the tour are planned for Islamorada, Boca Raton, Bonita Springs, Coral Gables, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Naples, Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Sanibel, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Weston and Winter Park. Details about each stop were not immediately available.