Save Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach
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There’s a multi-billion dollar land grab moving through Congress.
The Senate is working on S. 1073, the Escambia County Land Conveyance Act. The purpose of the bill is “To authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance.”
Republican Representative Matt Gaetz has passed legislation in the U.S. House to sell off Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach to private developers. The land is currently protected by a 1946 Congressional Land Conveyance that guarantees all leases on the beach belong to and must benefit the public. Gaetz' bill would take away these public land rights. Senator Marco Rubio has introduced the bill in the Senate, where it is currently in the Energy & Natural Resources Committee.
The Public gains nothing and will lose Billions of dollars in valuable assets.
The take-away here is that, with the demise of thousands of leases on Santa Rosa Island, the biggest winners are the tax coffers of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, and real estate developers. The losers are the residents of northwest Florida and the island itself. Barrier islands form to protect coastal areas. They are critical to healthy environments. Intact islands are important protection from rising waters, tides, and storm damage, so artificially breaching a barrier island is rarely good ecological practice.
This is not a partisan issue.
This would set a horrific precedent by reversing DEEDS and ownership to Publicly held lands
This is a public vs. private, citizen vs. developer, greed vs. public good issue.
If this could happen to Santa Rosa Island, which is entirely within the boundary of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and owned by the citizens of Escambia County, it could happen anywhere.
The Escambia County Commissioners, working with Rep. Matt Gaetz and Sen. Marco Rubio, are trying to amend the original 1946 federal law that gave Santa Rosa Island to the citizens of Escambia County with two requirements: it must be used “in the public’s interest” and it could never be sold, conveyed, or disposed of, except back to the federal government.
They seek to convey ownership of PUBLIC lands worth billions of dollars currently under lease to PRIVATE individual and business leaseholders. They also seek to convey public lands currently leased by Santa Rosa County and remove ALL conservation and preservation protections from that land. This would allow development of currently protected public conservation lands. This conveyance also allows Santa Rosa County the opportunity to pursue cutting an ecologically devastating new Navarre Pass.
• We ask that the Escambia County Commissioners and Escambia County Supervisor of Elections include a binding referendum on the county-wide 2018 ballot.
• This referendum will place the decision of maintaining or changing the PUBLIC lands status quo on Santa Rosa Island in the hands of the owners, the people of Escambia County.
• The voters must have the opportunity to vote YES in support or NO in opposition on the binding referendum.
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