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Florida puts up united front seeking $200 million for Everglades

“Unfortunately, federal funding has not kept pace with the state’s increased contributions.”

With a jointly-signed letter from U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Gov Ron DeSantis, Florida is urging President Donald Trump to include a sustained commitment of $200 million a year in construction funding to support restoration of the Everglades.

The letter sent late Monday from Rubio, Scott, and DeSantis comes after another jointly-signed letter sent in late January including the signatures of all 27 Florida members of the U.S. House of representatives, led by Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney of Naples, calling for the funding. Rubio and Scott also previously had declared their support for the money. That letter includes the 13 Democrats, along with 14 Republicans, in Florida’s delegation. Rubio, Scott, and DeSantis also are Republicans, and their letter noted that the two letters demonstrate united, bipartisan support in Florida.

DeSantis joined the effort in the letter sent Monday arguing that it is part of his pledge to invest $625 million for Everglades restoration and protection of the state’s water resources. All totalled, the efforts would put forward $2.5 billion toward water resources restoration and protection by the end of DeSantis’ first term, which his office noted was $1 billion more than the previous four years.

In DeSantis’ plan, $360 million in state money would go toward the Everglades projects.

“Unfortunately, federal funding has not kept pace with the state’s increased contributions,” DeSantis, Rubio and Scott wrote.

“Florida’s recent struggles with harmful algae blooms have raised the stakes for accelerated progress on Everglades restoration. Enhanced federal funding to complement years of historic state funding levels would fast-track design and construction of the Central Everglades Planning Project and the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir to divert and clean Lake Okeechobee releases and increase water deliveries to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay,” the letter continues. These funds would also advance important water storage and treatment infrastructure for the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir, and Indian River Lagoon-South projects that will further reduce harmful algal bloom frequency and intensity through enhanced coastal water quality.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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