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Big Wins for Florida in Committee-approved Water Infrastructure Bill

May 7, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously approved the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020). At the urging of Senators Rubio and Rick Scott, the bill would authorize and support critical water projects in Florida, and make important reforms that will strengthen Florida’s water quality, coastal resilience, and ecological health.  
“Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate is taking important steps to protect and improve Florida’s ecosystems,” Rubio said. “I am grateful that my colleagues on the EPW committee recognize the essential role water infrastructure plays in our state, both for the economy and public health. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue advancing this legislation and ultimately passing it into law.”
Rubio supported provisions in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020)
Invasive Species

Everglades Restoration

  • The bill protects Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan projects from premature deauthorization. Rubio’s language would help provide security and certainty to these long-term, multi-phase projects that are critical to Everglades Restoration. 
  • The bill authorizes the U.S. Army Corps to provide Federal cost-share funds directly to a non-Federal entity to design and construct CERP projects, or a separable element of a CERP project, while relying on the USACE for technical assistance to achieve statutory, regulatory and program requirements. Rubio’s language would help expedite design and construction of critical projects by allowing non-Federal partners to undertake more of the work, often at a lower cost than the Army Corps. 

Coastal Resiliency 

  • The bill ensures that the Army Corps informs Congress of the progress it makes in engaging local communities as it conducts the South Atlantic Coastal Study, which Rubio championed. The study is critically important to identifying the risks of coastal flooding and sea-level rise to Florida, and identifying mitigation opportunities. 

Water Quality

  • The bill creates a Water Data Sharing Pilot program to help states and local governments facilitate better cross-county information sharing about water quality. Rubio’s language would establish a pilot competitive grant program for states, counties, and local governments seeking improved inter-county data sharing on water quality, sources of water pollution, and water infrastructure. 

Project Authorizations

  • The bill authorizes the Fort Pierce Shore Protection Project and the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project. 

Expedited Project Progress

  • The bill requires the Army Corps to expedite decision documents required to make progress toward authorizing other critical projects, including the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, the Western Everglades Restoration Project, and needed updates to the C-43 (Caloosahatchee River) West Basin Storage Reservoir Project and C-111 South Dade Project. Finally, the bill deauthorizes the Taylor Creek Reservoir and the L-73 levee components of the 1954 Upper St. Johns River Basin Project. 

Background on Rubio’s efforts to fix Florida’s water quality issues and restore the Everglades can be found here.