Marco Rubio, Florida’s House Members Want $725 Million for Everglades Restoration

Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and every U.S. House member representing Florida sent a letter last week calling on President Joe Biden to include $725 million for Everglades restoration in his first budget proposal.

The Everglades Caucus, led by U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., helped spearhead the effort.

“I’m proud to once again lead this letter with my colleague, Rep. Alcee Hastings, asking the Administration to include $725 million for Everglades restoration projects in the FY22 budget proposal,” said Diaz-Balart.“Creating awareness and securing federal funding for Everglades restoration and conservation efforts has always been a top priority for me as co-chair and co-founder of the House Everglades Caucus. The Everglades is a national treasure and utterly vital to Florida’s economy and ecosystem. We must continue doing all we can to ensure the preservation of this unique ecosystem, and this funding would go a long way towards that goal.”

“Public health and our economy has been ravaged by a global pandemic and economic downturn. Our State would greatly benefit from this infusion of funding to recover and become more resilient in the face of future crises. Everglades restoration provides the ideal model for the benefits of investing in these conservation and infrastructure projects as laid out in the Administration’s plan to revitalize and maintain a more reliable American labor economy through long-term and comprehensive land restoration and green infrastructure,” said Hastings. “In addition to the direct benefits to Florida’s communities and economy, restoration and preservation of America’s largest sub-tropical wilderness is vital to the health of the ecosystem, biodiversity, and climate resiliency. I am proud to be working with my Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, to call on Congress to deliver these resources that will enable optimal benefits to our communities and natural systems.”

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., weighed in on why he was backing this effort.

“President Trump made historic progress on Everglades restoration, and now it’s time to build on that momentum with an even larger commitment,” Mast said. “With the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir within our grasp, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal to stop discharges and send the water south once and for all!”

“Florida’s environmental assets attracted 131 million visitors in 2019, directly infusing nearly $100 billion into the state’s economy. Environmental disasters in years prior, such as severe harmful algal blooms, undermined economic stability in communities whose economies are completely dependent on a clean environment,” Rubio and the House members wrote Biden. “Your commitment to supporting robust SFER funding at $725 million for FY22 would help solidify and build upon our recent environmental infrastructure successes in Florida, and would indicate to the state that your administration fully stands by this ecosystem restoration project that is of central importance to Floridians.”

Also last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to fund the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) program.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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