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Advocates say Gov. Rick Scott's $37 million pledge to fix springs not enough

By Craig Pittman

With his sleeves rolled up, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he is steering $37 million to 10 projects designed to cut pollution and boost the flow of some of the state's most popular springs.

"Our commitment to Florida families means doing our part in supporting these natural treasures," Scott said in a news conference at Wekiwa Springs State Park near Apopka.

Springs advocates expressed appreciation for the gesture from Scott, which was an about-face from two years ago when he canceled a springs restoration program that had been launched by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

However, they said the projects Scott and his Department of Environmental Protection had selected at Kings Bay, Homosassa Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs and other locations did not go far enough toward solving the springs' most basic problems from overpumping of the aquifer and pollution from fertilizer use and other sources.

Scott is "politically astute enough to know he should appear to be concerned about these things, but you won't see any measurable improvement in pollution or flow because of these projects," said Bob Knight, who heads up the Florida Springs Institute in Gainesville.