making real progress
Thanks to Senator Marco Rubio’s efforts, Everglades restoration is finally making real progress after decades of delay.
In 2016, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, then chairman of a critical Senate committee, wrote in the Miami Herald that his opposition to federal funding for Everglades restoration “changed [due] to my friend and colleague Sen. Marco Rubio.”
a fierce advocate for Everglades restoration
“Senator Rubio has spearheaded a number of actions that have helped to limit the impacts of the state’s algal bloom epidemic,” the American Conservation Coalition wrote in 2018. “Throughout his entire tenure in the U.S. Senate, Rubio has been a fierce advocate for Everglades restoration and investment in water infrastructure projects.… [He] is leading the fight to reduce the impacts of algal blooms on Florida’s citizens, wildlife, and economy.”
Audubon’s Champion of the Everglades Award
In 2019, Audubon Florida gave a “special thank you” to Rubio for his “strong commitment to Everglades restoration” and honored him with Audubon’s Champion of the Everglades Award. And in March 2021, the New York Times editorial board wrote that Rubio “has become the national park’s most vigorous champion in the Senate.”
Central Everglades Planning Project
Rubio has used every tool at his disposal to secure approval for the Central Everglades Planning Project, which authorizes the construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities and improve water supply to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Rubio’s efforts are paying off, with 2021 marking a milestone in Rubio’s efforts: the completion of the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area Project in Martin County.
Working with key stakeholders, Rubio led the Florida Congressional Delegation in urging President Biden to include $725 million for Everglades restoration efforts in his FY 2022 budget. Rubio again requested $725 million for Everglades restoration in President Biden’s FY 2023 budget. (Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has thus far failed to meet Rubio’s requests, withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in funds. Of particular concern, the Biden Administration did not allocate a single dollar from the national infrastructure package for the EAA storage reservoir, which is the single most important Everglades restoration project.)
Rubio’s commitment also extends to other water quality and infrastructure projects in Florida. In 2018, Rubio played a crucial role in securing full funding in order to accelerate the timeline of Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation. The project, which will enhance public safety and limit damaging lake discharges into northern estuaries, is now scheduled to be completed in 2022. Florida’s News-Press noted Rubio’s “appointment to the Appropriations Committee [in 2017] proved instrumental in the size of Florida’s haul in the bill.”
Rubio has also used his seat on the Appropriations Committee to secure critical public health research into the long-term health implications of harmful algal blooms, as well as much-needed funding for projects like raising portions of the Tamiami Trail, more than 30 years after it was first proposed. And Rubio continues to fight for Everglades restoration by combating the rise of invasive species that threaten the ecosystem.
Rubio believes the Everglades is one of the greatest natural treasures in the world, and protecting and restoring the river of grass remains one of his highest priorities in the Senate.