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Mast, Rubio Ask for Help to Pevent the Corps from Delaying EAA Reservoir

December 14, 2018 - 1:45pm
Brian Mast, R.D. James and Marco Rubio
Brian Mast, R.D. James and Marco Rubio

Congressman Brian Mast and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio raised urgent concerns Thursday with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R. D. James, over an Army Corps of Engineers proposal that would "disregard clear congressional intent" and delay the review of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post Authorization Change Report (PACR) by more than a year.

“The Corps cannot simply ignore the parts of federal law that they find inconvenient or don’t want to comply with,”  said Mast. “If they fail to submit their report to Congress by Jan. 18, they will have violated the law, and that’s absolutely unacceptable. Delays will not be tolerated.” 

Specifically, Rubio and Mast requested in a letter to James that he directly intervene to prevent the Corps bureaucracy from unnecessarily delaying the design and construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir project. The reservoir was authorized as a result of language Mast wrote and Rubio included in the Water Resources Development Act  signed into law earlier this year. 

“The Corps cannot be allowed to waste valuable time and scarce taxpayer resources duplicating feasibility study efforts for projects that Congress has already authorized,” Mast and Rubio wrote in the letter. “It is wholly inappropriate for the Corps to abuse the reporting requirement included in the CEPP PACR authorization for the purpose of relitigating the feasibility study for a congressionally-authorized project.”

Some close to the reservoir project have suggested the Corps' inability to fund the work quickly gives "the bureaucracy" incentive to encourage, if not create, delays.

The EAA Reservoir is a $1.64 billion state and federal project. The state will get $64 million a year from Everglades Trust recurring money to do its part. The federal share is a question mark. Federal payments are seriously behind. Still awaiting federal money are the C-43, C-44, the Broward projects and many, many others. In fact, this year's budget allocation for the whole of Everglades restoration was $70 million. 

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