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Amendment 1 backers start new environmental political group

Florida's Water and Land Legacy, the group that sponsored Amendment 1 in the 2014 election, has shuttered its doors and relaunched as Florida Conservation Voters, which backers say will have a broader mission of political activism on environmental issues.

The change comes after a "disappointing 2015 session" of the Legislature, according to an announcement Wednesday by the group's executive director, Aliki Moncrief. Environmentalists faced pretty significant losses in the state budget process, as lawmakers used funds set aside for conservation by voters in Amendment 1 to offset administrative costs of existing state programs.

"Florida has a long history of bipartisan support for the environment, and we know that Florida voters -- Republicans, Democrats, and Independents -- value conservation, as evidenced by the 75% voter mandate on Amendment 1," Moncrief said in a statement. "Our mission will be to make sure that legislative priorities on the environment match up to those of Florida voters."

The new group, which will be based in Tallahassee, will have a mission focused on electing people who support conservation to offices in Florida, Moncrief said. The group is setting up as a 501(c)(4), which will allow them to endorse and contribute to candidates for Congress, the state Legislature and local office.

Florida's Water and Land Legacy officially disbanded in June, according to records filed with the state Division of Elections. Florida Conservation Voters hasn't yet established a committee with the state.