Everglades bill clears last House committee

A House bill aimed at bringing state law into line with the latest plan for Everglades restoration easily passed the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, clearing the way for the measure to go to the House floor.

In addition to the provisions in House proposal updating the restoration plan, the bill would extend until 2025 a $25-per-acre tax on farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area that was set to expire in 2017.

Environmentalists object to the measure because they say it doesn’t ask polluters to pay enough and would say permit holders aren’t contributing to pollution in Everglades as long as they follow their permits - even if those permits are flawed.

Permit holders, particularly sugar farmers, say their willingness to extend the tax shows they’re willing to pay their fair share.

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