Press Releases

Washington, D.C. –  Today, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved its FY19 Appropriations bill, which includes key funding and language provisions advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that are critical to protecting Florida’s iconic landscapes and ecosystems, and improving the state’s clean water infrastructure.
 
“My work on the Senate Appropriations Committee is focused on identifying and improving those projects and programs most important to ensuring a brighter future for Florida and for our nation,” said Rubio. “This bill protects Interior’s Everglades restoration budget from unjustified cuts, includes new investments for drinking water and wastewater, and targets funding to solve the most pressing environmental issues across our state including ongoing threats to coral reef and seagrass habitats, and the recovery of the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.”
 
Select Rubio provisions included in the FY19 Interior & Environment Appropriations bill:
 
General Provisions:
  • Language restricting funds from being used to purchase telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation or other high risk information systems.
Interior:
  • Restores budget cuts for Everglades restoration, including $83,000 for Everglades restoration under the National Park Services’ Resource Stewardship account.
  • $2 million for land acquisition for Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge.
  • $2 million for land acquisition for St. Mark National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Up to $1.5 million provided under the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for coral disease research detection and response.
  • Report language related to exotic plant management in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and up to $10 million in funding towards control of invasive species, with an emphasis on agency activities in the Everglades. 
  • Report language encouraging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to expedite completion of biological opinions for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), including suggested deadlines of no later than Sept. 13, 2018 for the New Water Phase and no later than Feb. 2, 2019 for the South Phase. 
  • Report language directing the USGS to prioritize research, detection, and response efforts on invasive species with extremely high impacts on public lands and natural resources, including Burmese Pythons in the Florida Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp.
  • $93.724 million for the USFWS Species Recovery Program (an increase of $2.692 million), and report language related to meeting recovery effort needs of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Program.
  • Report language encouraging the work USGS is performing in critical landscapes, such as the Everglades, to continue.
  • Report language related to USFWS’ National Fish Habitat Partnership Program.
  • $65.6 million for USFWS’ State Tribal and Wildlife Grants (a $2 million increase).
  • Report language related to CITES Flora permitting process.
  • $1.707 million for Marine Turtle Conservation Fund (an increase of $200,000).
  • $43 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (an increase of $3 million).
  • Report language related to 3D Elevation Program and enhanced LIDAR technologies for USGS mapping efforts.
  • A $3 million increase for USFWS law enforcement activities.
 
Environment:
  • $3.204 million (nearly double FY18 levels) for the South Florida Geographic Program with dedicated funding of at least—
o   $500,000 to monitor coral health in South Florida;
o   $500,000 to enhance water quality and seagrass monitoring in the Caloosahatchee Estuary and Indian River Lagoon especially with respect to assessing the impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges; and
o   $500,000 to enhance water quality and seagrass monitoring in Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay especially with respect to assessing the impact of Everglades Restoration projects.
  • $1.694 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF).
  • $1.164 billion for the Drinking Water SRF.
  • $63 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
  •  $26.723 million for the National Estuary Program (NEP), including support for Florida four NEPs at Charlotte Harbor, Indian River Lagoon, Sarasota, and Tampa Bay.
  • $15 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Rural Water Technical Assistance (a $2.3 million increase), including $1.7 million for technical assistance grants.
  • $713.823 million for EPA’s Science and Technology programs, including research grants towards Safe and Sustainable Water Resources.
Related Agencies:
  • Report language supporting creation of the Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution.
  • $2.3 million under the Forest Legacy Program for land acquisition for the Keystone Longleaf Preserve.
 
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