Gov. Ron DeSantis asked for and got $250 million of proposed Everglades spending in President Donald Trump‘s proposed 2021 budget.
A laudatory media release, the usual reaction to such proposals, followed Monday afternoon.
“President Trump understands that restoring Florida’s Everglades is critical to the economic growth and well-being of our state,” DeSantis said.
“This $250 million in federal funding, combined with more than $300 million of state funding for the Everglades in my recommended budget, will help us achieve our long-term environmental goals. The ball is now in Congress’s court to grant the President’s request so we can continue our efforts of restoring one of America’s most prized natural resources,” DeSantis, a former member of the conservative U.S. House Freedom Caucus, added.
The Florida House, Senate, and Governor agree generally about the need for robust Everglades funding, with not much daylight between the numbers. The Senate seeks $319 million for Everglades restoration, and the House is at $318 million, just a few million dollars short of the Governor’s number.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Florida’s former Governor, heaped praise, both on Trump’s budget and for his own work.
“This funding builds on the $200 million in construction funding for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration we fought for and secured last year, as well as the $2 billion in state funding invested in restoring the Everglades throughout my time as Governor,” Scott said. “Everglades restoration is critically important to the State of Florida and enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress. I applaud the Administration’s commitment to protecting Florida’s natural treasures for generations to come.”
Noah Valenstein, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, waxed poetic, saying “the Everglades are not only a pivotal part of Florida, but a one-of-a-kind treasure of the United States.”
“Thank you, President Trump, for exemplifying environmental dedication at the national level and for providing federal support that will expand our efforts to protect Florida’s water quality. I look forward to extending our initiatives past state lines and working with the President and Governor DeSantis to continue defending America’s Everglades,” Valenstein said.
Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District, spotlighted “historic momentum for Everglades restoration in both the Sunshine State and Washington.”
“$250 million in federal dollars coupled with the Governor’s $625 million request for Everglades restoration and water quality will continue to expedite critical restoration projects including the EAA Reservoir Project. The continued strong partnership between the federal government and the DeSantis Administration is bringing meaningful progress to restoring America’s Everglades,” Bartlett added.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast also lauded the proposal.
“The importance of President Trump’s decision to request a record-setting $250 million for Everglades restoration cannot be overstated. This historic level of funding is exactly what we need to continue building momentum, protecting our ecosystems and stopping harmful discharges,” Rep. Mast said. “With President Trump’s support, I’m hopeful that we can get the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir built ahead of schedule.”
As did Everglades Foundation CEO Erik Eikenberg.
“This $250 million — a $50 million increase over this year’s funding — is the minimum investment needed for the next fiscal year to restore America’s Everglades for future generations, reduce polluted water discharges from Lake Okeechobee to Florida’s coastal communities and help ensure clean drinking water for more than 8 million Floridians. It is also a necessary first step in a ramp-up of future investments needed that will allow construction to be completed on the ambitious schedule advanced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,” Eikenberg said.