Photos courtesy of Senator Rubio’s office
Rubio “has become the national park’s most vigorous champion in the Senate,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in March 2021.
“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.”
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 “has since changed, largely in part to my friend and colleague Sen. Marco Rubio.”
Rubio has used every tool at his disposal to secure approval for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). Rubio was also able to pass congressional authorization to modify CEPP and construct the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities, as well as improve water supply to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rubio has secured funding for critical Everglades restoration projects. In 2019, Rubio secured $200 million in fiscal year (FY) 2020 federal appropriations for Everglades restoration. Working with President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and the Florida Congressional Delegation, Rubio ensured the President’s FY 2021 budget contained a record $250 million request for Everglades restoration, and Rubio delivered on the appropriations. Working with key stakeholders, Rubio then urged President Biden to include $725 million for Everglades restoration efforts in his forthcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget.
Audubon Florida gave a “special thank you” to Rubio for his “strong commitment to Everglades restoration” and honored him with Audubon’s 2019 Champion of the Everglades Award.
Rubio's efforts to improve Florida's water quality in the 116th Congress
- On December 22, 2020, Rubio secured $250 million for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, other critical funding for the Central Everglades Planning Project, in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 omnibus appropriations bill.
- On December 22, 2020, Rubio’s legislation to combat invasive species in the Everglades passed Congress
- On December 14, 2020, Rubio’s op-ed highlighted the progress of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
- On December 9, 2020, Rubio praised the House passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and urged the Senate to move swiftly in approving the measure. Rubio secured numerous key provisions in WRDA, including funding for critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects related to Everglades restoration, beach renourishment, flood control, and environmental protection.
- On October 1, 2020, Rubio applauded the announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District that it had awarded four construction contracts, totaling more than $81 million, for ecosystem restoration in South Florida.
- On May 15, 2020, Rubio criticized a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would delay critical work on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir.
- On May 7, 2020, Rubio released a statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously approved the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020).
- On May 6, 2020, Rubio introduced the Suppressing Looming Invasive Threats Harming Everglades Restoration (SLITHER) Act, which authorizes and directs the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to develop innovative technologies and approaches to identify, target, and eliminate invasive animal and plant species that threaten Everglades restoration.
- On February 11, 2020, Rubio’s op-ed highlighted Everglades restoration funding in President Trump’s proposed budget.
- On February 10, 2020, Rubio praised the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2020 Work Plan, which included significant funding for Florida water projects.
- On February 6, 2020, Rubio applauded President Trump for including $250 million for Everglades restoration in the 2021 budget request.
- On December 19, 2019, Rubio secured the full $200 million for Everglades restoration in the appropriations bills that fund the federal government through Fiscal Year 2020.
- On October 31, 2019, Rubio secured critical federal funding for continued progress on Everglades restoration projects, coral disease research and response, Harmful Algal Blooms, water quality, wildlife, infrastructure, and the Space Coast.
- On October 23, 2019, Rubio and Representative Brian Mast (R-FL-18) urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir project delays.
- On October 7, 2019, Rubio urged Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to support the expedited completion of the Tamiami Trail Next Steps project.
- On September 12, 2019, Rubio secured critical funding for Everglades restoration, the full $200 million in President Trump's updated budget request, in the FY2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
- On June 25, 2019, Rubio led a bipartisan group of his Florida colleagues in urging Assistant Secretary of the Army—Civil Works R.D. James to re-study the aging flood control system created as a result of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project.
- On June 21, 2019, Rubio and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) highlighted the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement that $60 million will be awarded to the State of Florida to raise the unbridged sections of the Tamiami Trail.
- On May 22, 2019, Rubio questioned Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt about the current moratorium on offshore drilling off the coast of Florida, and touted President Trump’s action to increase the administration’s budget request for Everglades restoration funds to the full $200 million requested by the Florida congressional delegation during an Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing.
- On April 10, 2019, Rubio released a statement after speaking with Acting Secretary Bernhardt, the White House, and leadership, that the ban on oil drilling off of Florida's coasts will remain in place.
- On March 7, 2019, Rubio and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary David Bernhardt urging that the Department’s next five-year Proposed Plan for offshore oil and gas drilling exclude all areas along Florida’s coast.
- On March 1, 2019, Rubio joined his colleagues in introducing legislation that would mandate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), within one year of enactment, to designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under the EPA Superfund law, and also enable a requirement that polluters undertake or pay for remediation.
- On February 11, 2019, Rubio, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and Senator Rick Scott (R0FL) urged President Trump to include a sustained annual commitment of $200 million in construction funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) in his Administration’s future budget requests to Congress.
- On January 4, 2019, Rubio reintroduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S. 13), which would extend the current moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico through 2027 and would allow Florida to access additional resources for coastal conservation that are available to the other Gulf states.