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South Florida Leaders Hail Rubio’s Leadership in Passing Everglades Project

Sep 15, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – After the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) today, key members of the South Florida community released the following statements commending Senator Marco Rubio’s leadership and work to restore the Everglades and improve the quality of Florida’s waterways:
Daniel O’Keefe, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) said, “Senator Marco Rubio’s support for Florida’s Everglades was on full display this week in the Senate, as his efforts helped ensure its advancement in the federal water bill.  Authorization by the full Congress is the critical next step for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward the Central Everglades Planning Project, whose components help form the heart of our shared Everglades restoration effort. To maintain the momentum, Congress must also appropriate money to construct projects, which in turn allows the South Florida Water Management District to continue moving forward with its ecosystem restoration efforts. Senator Rubio’s resolve to see projects completed continues to be vital in accomplishing these goals.”
State Senator Joe Negron (R-Stuart) said, “I am grateful to Senator Rubio for his leadership on this critical legislation and pleased to see the Senate take this important step today. A state and federal partnership is essential to advancing key components of Everglades Restoration, including our goal of reducing and eventually eliminating the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee that continue to impact our quality of life and local economy. I am hopeful that following today’s action in the Senate, the House will follow suit and take action swiftly. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson, and our congressional delegation to ensure that all levels of government are working together effectively to resolve this crisis as soon as we possibly can.”
State Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) said, “I am delighted that the Senate has passed the long anticipated WRDA bill which includes the Central Everglades Planning Project. Thanks go to Senator Rubio for championing this project for all the residents of South Florida and the Treasure Coast. The state has its share of funds available now as the result of passing Legacy Florida to complete CEPP. With the passage of WRDA and importantly the funding of it, we will have the dollars to move forward with CEPP. This is a major step in the right direction.”
State Representative Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) said, “I applaud Senator Rubio for his relentless leadership on the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). The CEPP is vital to continuing the plan to restore the Everglades and protect our coastal estuaries, including the Indian River Lagoon.”
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said, “This constitutes tangible results toward cleaning the water without decimating the hard working Glades residents and farmers. CEPP will jumpstart the projects that have been identified as providing the most benefit to cleaning the water before it reaches Lake Okeechobee or the Everglades and without affecting jobs and economy. Restoration of the estuaries will actually boost the economy.”
Commissioner Anne Scott, Chair of Martin County Board of County Commissioners said, “Martin County is encouraged about the progress the WRDA bill has made in the Senate. The authorization of CEPP is critical to continued Everglades restoration.” 
Timeline of Rubio’s work on water issues affecting Florida: 

  • September 15, 2016 – The landmark Everglades restoration and water quality improvement legislation known as the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) passed. As part of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA), the project passed by a vote of 95-3 with Rubio voting in favor.    
  • September 12, 2016 – Rubio welcomed the Senate’s continued advancement of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), as well as three more Florida provisions included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
  •  September 9, 2016 – Senator Jim Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, penned an op-ed in the Miami Herald detailing how Rubio persuaded him to support CEPP. 
  • August 26, 2016 – Rubio participated in a Tri-Cities Community Meeting with local leaders in Pahokee. Rubio discussed repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike, Lake Okeechobee, and the status of congressional action that would impact South Florida’s Everglades communities. 
  • August 18, 2016 – Rubio and 15 Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida urged President Obama to reconsider his Administration’s denial of Governor Rick Scott’s request for a federal disaster declaration in response to the toxic algal blooms in the state’s waterways. 
  • July 18, 2016 Rubio visited Stuart and Fort Myers to observe the damage done by Lake Okeechobee discharges and pushed for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). 
  • July 14, 2016 Rubio introduced the Assessing Coastal Area to Assist States Act, which would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform an assessment of coastlines within the South Atlantic Division. This bill has been adopted into the larger WRDA bill that continues to advance in the Senate. 
  • May 12, 2016 – Rubio supported the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy/Water Appropriations bill that included $49.5 million for Herbert Hoover Dike seepage control. 
  • April 29, 2016 Rubio met with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) in West Palm Beach. 
  • February 16, 2016 – In an op-ed in the TC Palm, Senator Rubio reiterated the need for CEPP to help alleviate discharges from Lake Okeechobee. 
  • February 8, 2016 – Senator Rubio signed a delegation letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the committees of jurisdiction (Senate EPW, House Transportation) requesting CEPP authorization be included in the forthcoming water resources bill. 
  • December 18, 2015 – Senator Rubio’s Ten Mile Creek deauthorization language became Public Law No. 114-113 as part of the end of the year spending bill
  • May 14, 2015 – Senator Rubio wrote a letter to Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein requesting that language to deauthorize the Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve be included in the fiscal year 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. 
  • February 20, 2015 – Senator Rubio took an aerial tour of the Northern Everglades to view the SWFWMD/ACOE projects. 
  • January 21, 2015 – Senator Rubio held a second stakeholder conference call where he discussed CEPP, Ten Mile Creek, Lake Okeechobee releases and the proposed state authority legislation. 
  • January 8, 2015 S. 120 is introduced with Senator Rubio as an original cosponsor. 
  • January 8, 2015 – Senator Rubio introduced S. 124, a bill to deauthorize the Ten Mile Creek Water Preserve Area Critical Restoration Project so the mismanaged federal project, that sat dormant for over a decade, could be transferred away from the federal government and into the hands of the State through the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
  •  September 18, 2014 – Senator Rubio cosponsored S. 2861, Senator Nelson’s bill to authorize CEPP. 
  • July 30, 2014 – Senator Rubio convened a stakeholder conference call to discuss the urgent need for CEPP and draft legislation that would move operational authority of Lake Okeechobee to the state. 
  • June 20, 2014 – Senator Rubio visited the Indian River Lagoon to see the effects of the discharges firsthand, and held a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders to hear community concerns. 
  • May 22, 2014 – Senator Rubio voted in support of the final conference report on WRRDA, but expressed concern regarding the absence of authorization for CEPP. On the same day, he also sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) requesting that CEPP be approved as quickly as possible.
  •  April 18, 2014 – Senator Rubio signed a delegation letter to WRRDA conferees requesting that CEPP be included in the final conference report. 
  • May 15, 2013 – Senator Rubio cited the absence of CEPP as a factor in his vote against the Senate version of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).