Rubio persuades Everglades foe in Senate to back key project
By Jenny Staletovich
March 10, 2016
This week, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Miami Herald that fellow Sen. Marco Rubio had convinced him to back a suite of Everglades restoration projects expected to cost about $1.9 billion and aimed at stopping the kind of crisis that gripped South Florida over the winter when El Niño dropped record rain. Inhofe, the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000.
“Marco showed me this was different. And I wouldn’t have gotten into it if Marco hadn’t talked to me,” he said. “When Marco said one out of three Floridians are affected, I thought that wasn’t right.”
Inhofe … said he now intends to back the Everglades project Wednesday when his committee takes up the Water Resources Development Act, the tool for getting such massive projects ready for funding.
His change of heart came when Rubio explained that the Comprehensive Everglades Planning Project contains specific fixes as opposed to the sweeping changes engineered in the broader Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, Inhofe said.
Rubio praised Inhofe’s decision in a statement Thursday, saying it marks a critical step in overall restoration and moving water south.
“Nothing would be as impactful as finally getting this Everglades proposal done,” he said. “This announcement is only the first step towards a long term solution, but I will continue to fight at the federal level to address this important issue to the people of Florida.”
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