The U.S. House of Representatives passed Appropriations Minibus H.R. 2740 containing $200 million in FY2020 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program to implement Everglades restoration.
“We’re steps away from receiving historic congressional funding to build Everglades restoration projects,” said Audubon Florida Director of Everglades Policy Celeste De Palma about today’s vote. This milestone comes at the heels of the recently adjourned Florida Legislative session that appropriated a record-breaking $360 million for Everglades restoration efforts.
“Having both our federal and local sponsors fully fund restoration will allow us to turn this significant investment into solid deliverables, including beginning work on the recently authorized EAA Reservoir. Already, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is anticipating completing the EAA Reservoir at least two years ahead of schedule!”
This past summer, Florida experienced the longest red tide on record and toxic blue-green algae blooms resulting in thousands of pounds of dead marine life and birds, shuttered businesses, angered visitors and beachgoers and sickened Floridians. With a number of projects nearing completion within the next five years, sustained and increased funding from Congress can finally deliver the results so desperately needed by the people of Florida and our cherished birds and wildlife.
“We want to recognize the leadership of our Florida Congressional Delegation in coming together to push for much needed increased funding to bring relief to Floridians and wildlife by investing in restoration to help clean our waters,” continued De Palma. “It is especially impactful to see Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz include an amendment in the bill to protect the Everglades from future oil and gas activity within sensitive Water Conservation Areas that supply more than 8 million Floridians with fresh drinking water. This is a necessary step to protect our investment in restoration, and we are thrilled that the House approved this amendment as well.”
This is the first minibus of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills. The package includes the FY 2020 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development spending bills. Everglades restoration funding is part of the Energy and Water Development bill. The Senate will consider the measure next.