Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Florida is hoping to receive $200 million in federal money for Everglades restoration

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 11:37 AM

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis are pushing for the president to provide $200 million a year in funding to support Everglades restoration, according to a letter signed by the elected officials.

The three Republicans sent the letter Monday as a follow-up to a similar letter sent last month that included the signatures of all 27 Florida members of the U.S. House – 13 Democrats and 14 Republicans – with U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples, taking the lead with his call for funding.

"The federal-state partnership to restore the Everglades is critical to protecting Florida's unique environmental character, preserving our state's full economic potential, and enhancing the resilience of every community south of Lake Okeechobee," Florida's highest elected officials write.

However, the officials note, federal funding "has not kept pace with the state's increasing contributions," such as the $625 million for Everglades restoration and protection of the state's water sources that DeSantis pledged to invest as part of his budget proposal. In total, if DeSantis can pull off the effort, he'll have put forward $2.5 billion towards water resources restoration and protection by the end of his term – an entire $1 billion more than the previous four years, or Scott's second term as governor.

"Florida's recent struggles with harmful algae blooms have raised the stakes for accelerated progress on Everglades restoration. Enhanced federal funding to complement years of historic state funding levels would fast-track design and construction of the Central Everglades Planning Project and the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir to divert and clean Lake Okeechobee releases and increase water delivery to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay," the officials write.

The officials conclude that the allocation of these funds would help improve water storage and treatment infrastructure for the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir, as well as Indian River Lagoon-South projects that will help aid in reducing the intensity and scale of algae blooms.

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