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Rubio Addresses Constituent Concerns About Lake Okeechobee Water Releases
Rubio: “Please rest assured it is a major issue for us. We are constantly on top of it. We’re proud that we’ve made some progress on one of those major issues this year, and we look forward to doing more here in the weeks and months to come.”
Washington, D.C. – In this week’s installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses constituent concerns regarding Lake Okeechobee water releases.
Rubio read two constituent letters – one from Charles from Lake Mary, and Belinda from Palm City – and responded to their concerns regarding the water releases from Lake Okeechobee.
Below is a partial transcript of Rubio’s response:
Senator Marco Rubio: “What we’re doing in that regard at the federal level is a couple things. The [Central Everglades Planning Project] (CEPP), we’ve been fighting for years to get it authorized, it’s been an uphill battle. This year we finally got it done here in the Senate. It has been [included in the Water Resources Development Act].
“There’s been some things done as well, the Ten Mile Creek de-authorization, where in essence we’ve returned this federal project over to the State authorities at the Water Management District. This basically will act as a pool, where they can hold some water, more than what they’re capable of holding now and the more you can hold onto these areas, the less water will flow.
“We’ve also been working on the Herbert Hoover dam improving the ability to hold more water into Lake Okeechobee. The more water you can hold there, the less of it you’re going to have to pump.
“And the ultimate solution is Everglades restoration, and allowing more water to flow south as opposed to east and west, creating all of this damage. If it flows south, as it moves south through the rivers of grass and so forth, it cleans out a lot of these nutrients.
“There isn’t a magic silver bullet here. There isn’t one thing that we need to do. There’s a lot of different things we need to do, and fortunately and unfortunately, when you do major projects of this kind it takes time because of the permits and the impact it could have on wildlife and the funding.
“The good news is that it’s happening. Slowly but surely a lot of these projects are coming on line. The bad news is that for many of you who are deeply concerned about this as I am, it’s not happening fast enough. We continue to face these threats.
“Just this week, we had a tropical storm here in Florida, it’s going to dump even more water into Lake Okeechobee. That means the likelihood of more water being pumped is increased, it’s a terrible situation. We’re doing everything we can to get these projects authorized and moving as quickly as possible. Every bit of water that we can keep back or flowing in a different direction is going to help, but a lot of different things have to happen so we can get back to where we need to be on this issue.
“Please rest assured it is a major issue for us. We are constantly on top of it. We’re proud that we’ve made some progress on one of those major issues this year, and we look forward to doing more here in the weeks and months to come.”
View Rubio’s full YouTube response here. For television stations interested in airing today’s response, a broadcast quality video is available here.
Rubio encourages constituents to continue writing letters and sharing their concerns via his official website, rubio.senate.gov.
- Because of Rubio’s advocacy efforts, the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) was included in S.2848, the 2016 Water Resources Development Act, which passed in the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in late April. Passing in committee is the farthest along in the legislative process that the CEPP has been since it was first proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
· See a timeline of Rubio’s push for CEPP and other water management projects here.