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Politics

Florida Leaders Stung as Trump Slashes Everglades, Reservoir Funding

March 13, 2019 - 6:45pm
Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Florida's three top leaders -- both U.S. senators and the governor, Republicans all -- believed Florida had a commitment from President Trump not to short funding for Everglades restoration in his new proposed budget. But when the budget surfaced earlier this week, it provided $63 million in Everglades funding, falling well short of the $200 million Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis sought.

See the full text of Rubio, Scott and DeSantis' Feb. 11 letter to the president here.

The budget doesn’t include money for the EAA Everglades Reservoir, as first proposed by former state Senate President Joe Negron in SB 50, and it slashes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' spending by 31 percent on a host of restoration projects, the Miami Herald reported.

On Wednesday Rubio and Scott, with U.S. Reps. Brian Mast of Palm City, and Francis Rooney of Naples combined on a joint statement to the president.

“For the third year in a row, the administration’s budget request underfunds critical projects in South Florida,” wrote the Florida GOP lawmakers.

“It is incredibly short-sighted to continue to underfund 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,” they said. “Everglades restoration is critically important to the State of Florida and enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress. Failing to meet the basic federal funding commitments to restore the Everglades is contrary to the administration’s goal of improving project partnerships and cost-sharing with states." 

Said the letter, "Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers envisioned a $200 million per year federal commitment when the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was first authorized nearly 20 years ago, and it is time for the administration to meet that commitment.”

The new South Florida Water Management District Governing Board meets for the first time Thursday, and likely the president's budget will be a topic for discussion.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

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