Governor Crist Receives National Wildlife Federation Conservation Award
~ Award recognizes Governor Crist’s leadership in addressing climate change, environmental preservation ~
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today received the National Wildlife Federation’s “Conservation Achievement Award for Government,” in recognition of his work to position Florida as a leader in addressing climate change and protecting the environment. Governor Crist thanked NWF members for the work they do to protect Florida’s natural beauty, and he stressed he is more committed than ever to building on the preservation initiatives of the past two years.
“We must take action in our lifetime to protect Florida’s treasures – from the Everglades and the white-sand beaches to the crystal clear springs – so that future generations can experience the Florida we love,” said Governor Crist. “I am honored to be an advocate for Florida’s environment, and I am committed to continuing the work we have done over the past two years to keep the Sunshine State beautiful.”
Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, presented Governor Crist with the award during a luncheon today. The award recognizes Governor Crist for his leadership in environmental conservation, including his role in encouraging the South Florida Water Management District’s recent approval of the historic land purchase deal, in which the district will buy 180,000 acres of land to clean, store and move water going into Everglades National Park. NWF leaders also lauded Governor Crist’s commitment to reducing Florida’s greenhouse gases and increasing energy efficiency.
“With political courage and unmatched resolve, Governor Crist has single-handedly positioned Florida as a leader in the fight against global warming,” said Schweiger. “It is an honor to recognize him with NWF’s Conservation Achievement Award for Government.”
Governor Crist has made addressing climate change and preserving Florida’s natural resources a priority since taking office. He announced the goal to purchase the Everglades land during the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami. The Everglades land acquisition represents one of the largest environmental land acquisitions in the nation’s history. The vast acreage is the “missing link” that the South Florida Water Management District needs to reconnect Lake Okeechobee and Everglades National Park and to protect Florida’s coastal estuaries and better revive, restore and preserve one of America’s greatest natural treasures – the Everglades.
In June 2008, Governor Crist signed the 2008 Energy and Economic Development Legislation, the most comprehensive energy package in Florida history. It builds Florida’s energy future by diversifying the state’s energy sources, spurring economic growth and promoting energy conservation and efficiency. The legislation created the Florida Energy & Climate Commission, a central office for state energy and climate change programs and policies, as well as the Florida Energy Systems Consortium, a collaboration of state universities to bolster and share scientific research and discoveries.
This comprehensive legislative package authorizes the development of a cap-and-trade regulatory program, which gives businesses flexibility in meeting greenhouse gas reduction standards. It creates a renewable fuel standard for motor vehicles and a renewable portfolio standard for utilities that sets a goal of 20% electric power generation from renewable sources by 2020; provides grants and incentives to promote and enhance the use of alternative and renewable energy technologies; and increases energy efficiency requirements for appliances and new buildings.
In October 2008, Audubon of Florida, a member organization of the Everglades Coalition, presented Governor Crist with the “Champion of the Everglades” award for his leadership in encouraging the South Florida Water Management District to pursue negotiations for the land acquisition.