This week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to include full funding in his upcoming FY 2022 budget request to Congress for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) program.
This funding would build upon the $250 million for Everglades restoration that Scott fought for and secured from the Trump administration last year and ensure continued support for federal and state efforts to preserve and protect Florida’s environment for future generations.
Scott’s letter is below.
Dear Mr. President,
As you finalize your Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget, I respectfully ask you to build on the great investments the State of Florida received under the previous administration and commit to full and robust funding in your forthcoming budget request to Congress for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER), based on the current Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has set forth. Last year, Congress appropriated and the President approved $250 million for SFER, which includes funding for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) a critical component of Everglades restoration.
Continued support for Everglades restoration, with full and robust funding from the federal government will ensure that key projects, like the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project, remain a priority. Once complete, the EAA will work to clean and store more water south of Lake Okeechobee, helping prevent and mitigate the impacts of harmful algal blooms and naturally-occurring red tide in Florida’s coastal waterways. This project will complement the work we started when I was Governor of Florida. In collaboration with the Trump Administration, the State of Florida secured the state and federal funding needed to expedite the necessary repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) at Lake Okeechobee, which is now expected to be completed in 2022. Once complete, the critical repairs of the HHD will also ensure that more water will be sent south and also provide billions of gallons of water storage around Lake Okeechobee.
With your administration committing to continued full and robust funding based on what the USACE has set forth in their IDS, the USACE and the State of Florida will be able to accelerate more projects to protect our natural treasures and improve the lives of Florida families and wildlife. Full and robust funding for the USACE in FY 2022 will allow the USACE to focus on multi-year contracts that will ensure more projects are completed on schedule and on budget.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with you and your administration to continue the restoration efforts of our nation’s Everglades.