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Rubio Applauds Florida Governor DeSantis Executive Order to Improve Water Quality and Everglades Restoration
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today released the following statement after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order to secure $2.5 billion over the next four years for the improvement of water quality and Everglades restoration:
“I look forward to working with the Governor on our shared vision of protecting Florida’s water resources and, by extension, enhancing the prosperity, health, and quality of living of all Floridians. My number one priority for the Everglades this Congress is to hold the federal government accountable to matching the State’s investment and commitment to an accelerated restoration blueprint, and that starts with a significant increase in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2020.”
Background on Rubio’s efforts to fix Florida’s water quality issues:
- In December 2018, Rubio and Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL) requested immediate intervention by the Trump Administration to prevent delay of the EAA Storage Reservoir Project.
- Ahead of the vote on the Kendall Parkway Project, Rubio urged Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting Everglades restoration ahead of the vote on the Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). He also released a video outlining his conditions for supporting the project.
- In September, Rubio teamed up with Senator Bill Nelson (FL) and U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) to write language authorizing the EAA Storage Reservoir, to be built south of Lake Okeechobee, which was included in the WRDA.
- In August, Rubio announced his objections to the Kendall Parkway Project until Everglades protection was guaranteed. He also urged Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to help deliver relief to Florida communities plagued with algal blooms by bringing WRDA for a vote in the Senate as soon as possible.
- In July, Rubio called the delays in the Army Corp’s new Everglades restoration schedule “unacceptable.”
- Following his June request, Rubio welcomed an announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it had approved the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR), allowing Congress to consider authorizing construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities.
- In June, the Senate passed a Rubio measure that reasserts the original intention for Everglades restoration efforts to redirect Lake Okeechobee discharges towards the Central Everglades. Rubio also secured key funding that enhances water quality and seagrass monitoring to assess the impact of discharges, and protected the Interior Department’s Everglades restoration budget from unjustified cuts.
- In May, Rubio secured a provision expediting design work on critical reservoirs to collect and clean Lake Okeechobee discharges and local runoff before release into the St. Lucie River and ultimately into the Indian River Lagoon. Rubio also secured funding in the Senate FY19 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for critical Everglades restoration projects administered by the Army Corps.
- In March, Rubio urged the Army Corps to support Florida water projects and led the South Florida delegation in urging to expedite its review of CEPP’s Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR) submitted by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Rubio also urged the Army Corps to work with SFWMD to study, design, and construct a new flood and storm damage reduction project that addresses seepage and flood risks along the boundary of the eastern Everglades in Miami-Dade County.
- In February, Rubio urged the Army Corps of Engineers to use supplemental disaster funding to complete work on the Herbert Hoover Dike. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rubio was able to secure Lake Okeechobee relief funding in the disaster supplemental. Rubio raised inclusion of the EAA Storage Reservoir as his top priority for the 2018 WRDA bill to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
- In January, Rubio requested assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to expedite critical Everglades restoration work. Rubio also outlined his support for the Strazzulla Marsh-Snail Farm land exchange to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
- South Florida leaders have commended Rubio’s leadership and work to restore the Everglades and improve the quality of Florida’s waterways.
- In 2016, Rubio’s efforts ultimately convinced former Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe to support CEPP. Following the Senate’s passage of WRDA in September 2016, and Rubio urging key House and Senate committee leaders of both parties to retain important Florida projects in the final version of the bill, CEPP authorization was ultimately signed into law as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322).