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Patrick Murphy: Keeping Florida’s waters protected

I am proud to represent the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast in Washington. Having been born and raised in Key Largo, I am also proud to be the first conch in Congress. The Keys are where I caught my first fish, where I rowed my first kayak, and where, on an Outward Bound expedition, I first experienced the beauty and power of Mother Nature on my own.

Everything we did — whether it was swimming, fishing, or boating — relied on the water.

I have carried with me the lessons that I learned from this area to Washington. It is more than just recreational activities that are dependent on the water — our restaurants, businesses and tourism industry also need a healthy environment to thrive. It requires our entire state doing its part to protect the Everglades system that flows from Orlando all the way here.

Congress finally passed a water bill in 2014 with many major wins for Florida. New investments totaling $1 billion were authorized — from the C-43 Reservoir to the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands — to improve the water quality of the entire system and restore the natural flow of the Everglades southward. The bill also helped clean up Army Corps of Engineers red tape and free $400 million in South Florida Water Management District credits.

In the past two years, every substantial Everglades restoration project has seen progress.

Recently, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. David Jolly to authorize the Central Everglades Planning Project, which will implement long-term strategies to send clean water south.

Further, Florida voters approved Amendment 1 in November, which redirects documentary-tax revenue to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

As advocates in Tallahassee fight to ensure this funding goes toward effective projects, I will make sure every dollar is stretched to its maximum capacity in Washington. For every dollar invested in our environment, it’s returned four-to-one to local economies.

As long as I have the responsibility of serving Florida in Congress, I will continue to fight for the future of our natural resources.

It is truly a legacy worth leaving to the next generation.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy represents Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

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