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From the President

Conservation and conservatism share the same language roots. But you wouldn’t know it from the last session of the legislature in Tallahassee. Far from being conservative, they behaved like radicals.

One of the more troubling decisions ensured that few, if any, citizens can challenge environmental and growth management permits --- the burden of proof shifted onto the people making the challenge.

By shifting the burden of proof onto the citizens, the legislature overturned 1,000 years of common law precedent. Since the earliest English common law, water and wildlife have been deemed common property held in trust for all citizens. To take those resources away required permission, often in the form of a government permit. But not in Florida anymore. The legislature has overturned that enduring principle and instead has given water and wildlife over to special interests and forced you to prove they are yours to enjoy.

This is no time for hand-wringing. To accomplish conservation goals we need the support of the region’s County Commissioners. Your support will help the Conservancy work with them to ensure that balanced growth policies are implemented --- ones that integrate protection of our natural resources with economic vitality.

We hope to continue making conservation fit conservative values for many years to come. With your support, we believe we can.


Andrew McElwaine
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
President & CEO


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