Most of the Florida delegation is backing an effort for Congress to fully fund Everglades restoration and water quality projects.
Four members of the delegation–U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.–led ltters to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee leadership “urging House appropriators to fully fund Everglades restoration and water quality infrastructure projects.”
Other members signing the letter included U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
“We in South Florida are speaking with one voice to tell the Trump administration that the federal government needs to fulfill its commitment to our constituents by providing the necessary funding for Everglades restoration,” said Mucarsel-Powell on Tuesday. “There is bipartisan support to fully fund Army Corps of Engineers projects for the Everglades at $200 million, and if President Trump was being sincere when he visited Lake Okeechobee about protecting our water, our environment, and creating new jobs, he should fully fund Everglades restoration programs.”
“For the third year in a row, President Trump’s budget has cut federal funding for Everglades restoration,” said Hastings. “So much of South Florida’s quality of life depends on the Everglades. More than 8 million Floridians rely on this national treasure for their water supply, and the sawgrass prairies and mangrove forests are home to numerous vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species. It is critical for the Florida delegation to stand united against anything that slows down Everglades restoration. This is not some impossible problem that we cannot solve. We can solve it with bipartisan support and full funding from the federal government.”
“The single biggest issue impacting our Southwest Florida community is water quality,” said Rooney. “Over the past two years, we have been successful in obtaining nearly $1.1 billion for repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades restoration. It is critical that we maintain these funding levels so that we may speed up the projects necessary to fix our water. Just last week, I was with President Trump at Lake Okeechobee receiving an update on these repairs and I stressed the importance of federal funding to fix our waters. Clean water is key to our economy and ecology in southwest Florida. I will continue working with my colleagues from Florida to fix our water quality.”
“The federal government needs to step up with a strong funding commitment for infrastructure projects that are critical to Florida’s environment, economy and public health, especially now that Governor DeSantis has made state matching funds for these projects a top priority,” said Mast. “We also cannot allow misguided red tape and bureaucracy to stand in the way of Everglades restoration, which is why we are requesting a $150 million increase in funding for the environmental restoration construction account that has been used by the Army Corps to fund projects like the C-44 Reservoir and Kissimmee River restoration. This has bipartisan support and is absolutely critical to stopping harmful discharges, toxic algal blooms and the continued destruction of the Everglades.”
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.