On Thursday, the two Florida congressmen who lead the Congressional Everglades Caucus—Democrat Alcee Hastings and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart–brought out a proposal for Everglades projects and which will ensure the Army Corps of Engineers will be able to continue its work in the area.
Hastings and Diaz-Balart introduced the “Everglades for the Next Generation Act” this week.
“The legislation authorizes Everglades restoration projects that are shovel-ready, ensuring that necessary progress in the region continues. It also provides the Army Corps of Engineers with the flexibility needed to avoid Congressional bottlenecking in the future,” Hastings’ office noted on Thursday.
“Protection and restoration of the Everglades is a top priority,” said Hastings. “The Everglades is absolutely vital to the overall health of both South Florida’s ecosystem and economy. Congressional inaction has persevered for far too long despite bipartisan support for restoration. This measure will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on shovel-ready projects, without having to await another Water Resources Development Act.”
“Everglades restoration continues to be one of my top priorities in Congress,” said Diaz-Balart. “As cofounder and cochair of the Congressional Everglades Caucus, I know how critical the preservation of this natural treasure is to our state. We must do everything we can to protect Florida’s ecosystem, and we cannot allow delays to occur which would impede the work that needs to be done. That is why I am glad to once again introduce legislation with my friend Rep. Alcee Hastings that will make it easier for the U.S. Army Corps to begin work on projects that have already been approved through the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. This would lead to greater efficiency and expedited completion of critical Everglades restoration projects. As the 116th Congress begins, I will continue to prioritize and advocate on behalf of the Everglades and the projects that are so vital to its repair.”
Other members of the Florida delegation backing the bill include Democrat U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Lois Frankel, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Stephanie Murphy and Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.