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Land Use & Sustainability

Unsustainable land use practices continue to be a major threat to the environment. A recent study finds that if Florida maintains its current development pace, roughly 7 million acres will be converted to urban use by 2060. Of these lands, 2.6 million acres of native habitat, an area the size of Vermont will be lost.

ELC utilizes litigation and advocacy to advance sustainable land use practices and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Specifically, our work focuses on advancing the connectivity of Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades by challenging incompatible uses in the Everglades Agricultural Area (such as mining and intense industrial development), challenging major developments that threaten water quality and wildlife habitat in the Kissimmee River basin, and challenging land uses that would serve as obstacles to implementation of Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.

We vigorously oppose and litigate attempts by local governments to weaken their land use regulations and move their urban service boundaries. We also challenge land use proposals, such as rock mining and new roads, which threaten to compromise Everglades restoration.

  • Successfully litigated attempts by Palm Beach County and Miami-County to move their urban development boundaries.
  • Successfully settled a suit against Palm Beach County that would have allowed for the construction of an “inland port” in an area needed for Everglades restoration.
  • Defeated three of three Palm Beach County land use approvals that would have allowed nearly 20,000 acres of rock mining in the Everglades Agricultural Area.
  • Successfully opposed the construction of a wastewater treatment plant along the banks of Lake Okeechobee in western Martin County.
  • Secured stronger development restrictions in southern Osceola County.
  • Successfully opposed recent attempts to repeal Monroe County’s longstanding prohibition on dredging in nearshore waters.

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