House Passes Darren Soto’s Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Act With Strong Support From Florida

Two congressmen from the Sunshine State scored a win last week as their proposal to help protect a river in Florida passed the U.S. House.

In July 2021, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., introduced the “Kissimmee River Wild and Scenic River Act” which would have the U.S. Interior Department “amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and designate segments of the Kissimmee River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.” U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., co-sponsored the measure.

“After efforts in the 1940s to control the river’s flow led to issues that destroyed habitats, Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the river to its original path in the 1990s. The project is expected to be finished later this month and has already contributed to the return of many wildlife species,” Soto’s office noted.

Last week, the House passed Soto’s proposal on a 377-45 vote, with all of the opposition coming from the Republican ranks. Every member of the Florida delegation except for U.S. Reps. Bill Posey, R-Fla., and Greg Steube, R-Fla., voted for Soto’s bill.

Soto weighed in after the House passed his bill.

“It is critical for us to preserve the historic Kissimmee River as it is home to many of Florida’s endangered species and the heart of the state’s water drainage route,” said Soto. “As we continue working to improve our environment, we must ensure that this natural treasure is able to sustain the growth of future generations. I am thrilled with the progress we’ve made in the House and urge the Senate to promptly send this bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.”

However, there is currently no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Derby
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