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Gov. Rick Scott toured the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee on Monday. Earlier this year, President Trump committed to providing federal support to fix the federally-operated dike and Scott worked with lawmakers to set aside $50 million to speed up needed repairs.

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Rick Scott lauds long-awaited citrus relief, Herbert Hoover dike money

Friday’s Continuing Resolution in Washington brought some benefits to Florida, which Gov. Rick Scott noted Friday.

“For months, we have worked to ensure that Florida is provided the needed federal relief following Hurricane Irma. In October, I personally traveled to Washington to begin this conversation with Florida’s entire Congressional delegation, Congressional leadership and various federal officials. Today, Congress finally provided the relief we were seeking for Florida families and businesses,” Scott asserted in a statement.

“The funding provided today will help the recovery of our state’s iconic citrus industry, better prepare our communities as they continue to welcome families displaced by Hurricane Maria and aid in Puerto Rico’s recovery. I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico three times since the island was devastated by Maria, and Florida continues to stand with our fellow Americans,” Scott added.

Almost $3.6 billion will be allocated by the federal government for citrus and agriculture, one of the highlights cited in the $89.3 billion federal disaster package, along with $23.5 billion for FEMA and $28 billion for HUD.

Florida Department of Citrus head Shannon Shepp noted, regarding the citrus funding, that “growers can now reinvest in their groves.”

“Today’s passage of disaster recovery funding immediately changes the outlook for so many. From growers who have been watching their bank accounts run into the red since September to the small-town communities reliant upon the citrus industry, a collective sigh of relief can be heard,” Shepp asserted.

In October, The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs estimated $2.5 billion in Irma-related agricultural damage, $761 million of that in citrus. The citrus industry faces its worst crop in 75 years.

In addition to the citrus funding, another key ask was satisfied with Herbert Hoover Dike funding.

“At my request, this relief also includes funding to speed the critical repairs to the federally-operated Herbert Hoover Dike. During Hurricane Irma, I ordered the evacuation of many communities surrounding the Dike to keep people safe. At my urging, and after securing a commitment from the White House, Congress has finally made funding available for this federal project. I will continue to fight for these repairs and will stop at nothing until the communities and the environment surrounding the dike are fully protected,” Scott vowed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers secured $17.39 billion in the CR. Gov. Scott has proposed $50 million in state money in addition to the $50 million allocated this year, and the hope is to get repairs done by 2022.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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