Key lawmakers give long-sought backing to Everglades projects
July 31, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three long-sought environmental cleanups that are critical parts of a broader plan to restore the Everglades have won approval from key lawmakers in Congress - leaving only the formality of a final OK by the full Senate and House, which is expected later this week.
The Everglades projects, contained in a water resources bill that’s taken Congress five years to pass, include cleanups of the Indian River Lagoon running through five southeast Florida counties and the Picayune Strand in Collier County near Florida’s southwest coast, and also restoration of a 1,600-acre reservoir in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. All are considered essential to long-term plans for restoring the
Both the Senate and House versions of the water bill, known as WRDA, contained the three projects before the separate bills went to a conference committee charged with ironing out any differences between the two. That committee finished its work late last week, but the text the bill wasn’t published until today.
“Finally,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the Senate sponsor of the
U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney (FL-16), who sponsored the Everglades projects in the House version of WRDA , said, “The Indian River Lagoon, Picayune Strand, and Site 1 Impoundment projects are an important part of state-wide efforts to restore the
Another House sponsor of the projects, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), said, “My colleagues from
Added Rep. Ron Klein, whose congressional district skirts part of the Everglades, “After years of congressional inaction to tackle
Passage of the water bill has been stymied since 2002. Previously both chambers passed different versions of the bill, but they could never reach a compromise. This year, the House passed its own WRDA legislation in March and the Senate passed its version in May.
The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $1.38 billion for restoration of the Indian River Lagoon South, to be split evenly by federal and non-federal costs. The project provides for ecosystem restoration, water supply, flood damage reduction, and protection of water quality.
The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $375,330,000 to be split evenly between federal and non-federal costs, for environmental restoration of Picayune Strand. The Picayune Strand ecosystem restoration plan would help increase freshwater flows to natural areas.
Site 1 Impoundment
The WRDA Conference Report authorizes $80.8 million for the environmental restoration of Site 1 Impoundment,