Rick Scott approves deal to ...buy and protect land? Whoa.

click to enlarge You know — like this. - sfrc.ufl.edu
You know — like this.

The News Service of Florida is reporting that Governor Rick Scott — the same guy who made his staff stop using phrases like "climate change" — has signed off on a proposal to buy up ranch land in Pasco and Dixie Counties for purposes of environmental protection.

No, it's not an April Fool's joke; we wouldn't do that to you.

The Pasco site, known as Phillips-Mathis Ranch, is in the middle of the county, according to NSF. It comprises 617 acres and has served as a ranch since the 1860s. Developers had been eying the land for some time, because all we need is another swath of suburbia crowned by a Chili's off of I-75.

The state paid $3 million for what's called a conservation easement, which means the landowners can continue operating a ranch there as long as the land never gets developed upon.

"By permanently conserving threatened agricultural lands, like the Phillips-Mathis Ranch, we can preserve these invaluable pieces of our economy, culture and environment for future generations," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said of the deal in a written statement, according to NSF.

The Dixie County deal was much bigger. It entails a 8,138-acre easement the state purchased for $4.21 million from Lyme Cross City Forest Company LLC., a lumber company. The company will be able to continue cutting down trees on the site (and hunters will still be allowed to hunt there), but open space beats thousands of acres of concrete (what with aquifer recharge and all).
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