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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Trump is now proposing $200 million for restoration work in the Florida Everglades

Posted By on Tue, May 14, 2019 at 4:33 PM

After proposing a mere $63 million for ongoing Everglades projects in his original budget proposal, President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that his administration will ante up the amount to $200 million.

That was the amount originally requested by the Florida congressional delegation in April, when Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Alcee Hastings and Republican U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Francis Rooney announced their intention to push for the federal funding.

Despite that, Trump still attempted to take credit for the effort.

"My Administration will be fighting for $200 million for the Army Corps Everglades restoration work this year," Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday, even though he'd offered just a third of that earlier this year. "Congress needs to help us complete the world's largest intergovernmental watershed restoration project ASAP! Good for Florida and good for the environment."

It apparently took a scolding from a few of Trump's fellow Republicans last month to convince the president to pivot on his decision.

"It is incredibly short-sighted to continue to underfund a series of projects that are necessary to ensure the environmental sustainability and economic vitality of one of the most dynamic regions of our nation," U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Francis Rooney and U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio wrote in a joint statement in March. "Everglades restoration is critically important to the State of Florida and enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress."

"Failing to meet the basic federal funding commitments," the lawmakers continued, would prove "contrary to the administration's goal of improving project partnerships and cost-sharing with states."

The president submitted the revised budget request to Congress today.

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Water is scheduled to debate Everglades funding on Wednesday. Included in the potential projects is the proposed EAA reservoir, which would be designed to cut toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

"When I talked with the President at Lake Okeechobee, we discussed how critical this money is for the Everglades, as well as to stop discharges and harmful algae blooms," Mast says in a statement. "Delay is not an option because our communities and the Everglades are literally dying."

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