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ICYMI: New York Times Calls Rubio the Everglades’ “Most Vigorous Champion”

Mar 29, 2021 | Press Releases

Biden’s Chance to Save the Everglades
Reviving the South Florida ecosystem enjoys bipartisan support and deserves federal funding.
Editorial Board
March 27, 2021
New York Times 
The main force behind restoration has always been a desire to save the swamp, America’s greatest subtropical wilderness, and the bird and animal life that lives there. But as Marco Rubio, who has become the national park’s most vigorous champion in the Senate, said in a letter to President Biden earlier this month, a healthy Everglades has other vital uses as well. It is a magnet for tourists drawn to Florida’s environmental assets, and thus provides permanent jobs apart from those created by the restoration projects. Its aquifers furnish drinking water for millions of Florida’s residents. It protects against saltwater intrusion caused by slowly rising sea levels, and its mangroves absorb and store carbon dioxide.
Mr. Rubio got every member of the Florida congressional delegation to sign on to his letter. Most of them probably meant it. Although developers will always be nipping at the edges, the Everglades is a mom-and-apple pie issue in Florida nowadays. As the Miami Herald writer, novelist and environmentalist Carl Hiaasen said earlier this month in his farewell column, “Billions are being spent trying to save the besieged River of Grass, and every ambitious candidate — Democrat or Republican — waxes rapturously about it. A few of them might actually be sincere, but all of them know how to read the polls.”
Senator Rubio asked President Biden for $725 million this year to jump-start the big projects. Environmental groups like the Everglades Foundation want a four-year commitment of close to $3 billion, about equal to the Army Corps of Engineers’s estimates of what it will take to keep restoration efforts on track for the next decade. Either way, these numbers would help Washington finally honor its original pledge. They represent a low-cost but vital investment in the natural world that Mr. Biden and his environmental team should find easy to make.
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