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Florida delegation urge Trump to increase Everglades funding

Posted: 10:40 PM, Mar 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 10:32:02Z
Critics say Trump budget short changes Everglades restoration

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Both of Florida's Republican U.S. Senators say President Trump's budget doesn't include enough money for Everglades restoration.

The initial budget proposal by the president includes 63 million dollars for Everglades restoration in fiscal year 2020. Florida's congressional delegation was hoping for 200 million.

“For the third year in a row, the administration’s budget request under-funds critical projects in South Florida. It is incredibly short-sighted to continue to under-fund a series of projects that are absolutely necessary to ensure the environmental sustainability and economic vitality of one of the most dynamic regions of our nation," the delegation said in an email.

Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott along with Republican members of Congress Brian Mast and Francis Rooney signed the statement.

But Rooney, who represents much of the Southwest Coast, believes congress and the president will add more money after some convincing.

"I'll be doing the same strategies I used in 2017 and 2018, which seemed to work out very well."

Much of the Everglades funding would go toward the creation of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The 17,000 acre reservoir would store excess water from the lake, which is normally discharged into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers. Those discharges are blamed for devastating algae blooms on both coasts.

"If we don't have adequate funding it's just going to take longer to complete," said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani of the project.

A final budget proposal won't be finished until later this year.