In Stuart, Rubio Pushes For Central Everglades Planning Project, Renews Call For Federal Disaster Funds
Jul 19 2016
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today hosted a roundtable discussion in Stuart, Florida, with researchers and local officials regarding the Indian River Lagoon. In the media availability following the roundtable, Rubio discussed the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) and the Obama Administration’s refusal to offer assistance for businesses and residents affected by the algae crisis along Florida’s Treasure Coast.
“Part of the process we were working on as part of the emergency declaration is allowing enough flexibility so some of the disaster funds could be used for cleanup technologies that worked, much of the way they were used in the Gulf after the BP oil spill,” Rubio said. "Unfortunately, that was denied. My hope is that the Governor will resubmit the request and this time get a better result.
“There aren’t short-term solutions to big problems," Rubio continued. "There are things we can do to help people, but ultimately the bottom line is, as nutrient-rich water is running east and west out of Lake Okeechobee in a current form, you will continue to see this. So we have to put in place all those projects that prevent that from happening. And the best way to do that is the Central Everglades Planning Project and the Central Everglades Restoration Project, which is what the experts designed and has been held up for over 15 years in Washington, which we are on the verge of taking a major step on if we can get the water bill passed.”
A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
Senator Marco Rubio: “First, let’s hopefully reapply and see if we can change the mind of the President and that determination about denying the federal assistance. Secondly, I really think we need to focus like a laser on the Central Everglades Planning Project which was included in the water bill - we have to get that done. That is the single most massive project that has a lot of things in it that people are asking for. We are on the verge of getting that done in September in the water bill hopefully in the Senate and the House. And I hope that is where we will make our priority because that begins to move the ball forward on a host of different projects that begin to alleviate this crisis.”
Rubio On Relief Vs. Small Business Administration Loans
“I believe both. For some, loans are more appropriate; for others disaster relief, the way you would see after a hurricane or a major storm. In the case of this situation it’s actually damage caused by a federal action not just an act of nature.”
Rubio On Federal Funds Without State Of Emergency Declaration
“There is but at this point you either have to find it through existing discretionary funds in the agencies or an act of congress to appropriate money, which takes a long time. So the ideal is a disaster relief.”
Rubio On His Efforts To Help Treasure Coast Residents
“Well first we are trying to – for example, I personally asked the director at the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention to come down here and give us an analysis of that. I know they are working closely with the health department. But I also say we are going to keep facing this, every year, every other year until we put in place all of those projects that prevent this from happening in the future. Projects that hold more water in the north of the lake, more water in the south of the lake, and allow more water to flow south into the Everglades as opposed to the volume from east to west.
“The only way to do this is to move forward on the budget designed by the experts 15 years ago: the Everglades Planning Project. Developed in Washington, way before I ever got there and now we are finally on the verge.”
Note: All photos can be credited to the office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.