Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott wrote to Michael Connor, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, urging the allocation of $1.5 billion in order to ensure proposed and ongoing environmental projects in Florida are undertaken and completed.
The project list includes maintaining progress towards the restoration of Florida’s Everglades through ventures like the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) and Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir.
“To maintain the historic progress that has been made in recent years towards fully restoring America’s Everglades, we strongly urge you to allocate no less than $1.5 billion in supplemental construction funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER),” stated the letter. “This level of funding is critical for efforts to advance the expeditious completion of Everglades restoration. It is our expectation that, of the funds allocated for SFER, significant funding for the construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir will be allocated in the supplemental Work Plan.”
Also incorporated is a recommendation of surplus financial investment by the Army for Civil Works in over 100 environmental projects currently underway across the state spanning from beach erosion control to removal of aquatic growth.
The project support list includes an ecosystem restoration and flood control project in Puerto Rico known as the Caño Martín Peña project, which aims to improve water quality, restore the watershed’s ecosystem, and address serious public health and safety issues in afflicted neighborhoods in San Juan.
Environmental protection has been at the forefront of the Florida government budget in recent weeks, as Governor Ron DeSantis announced the state’s first-ever flood resilience plan that would allocate over $200 million of state dollars towards rising sea levels and flood-susceptible regions in the state with plans to propose hundreds of millions more in funding over the coming years.
DeSantis announced plans to spend over $1 billion on environmental projects statewide in the next year, including $660 million toward Everglades restoration, $50 million for Florida springs restoration, $35 million to tackle harmful algal blooms, and an overall increase in spending.
Any proposed funding for environmental services would still need to pass through legislation during the upcoming January session. DeSantis is anticipated to announce his complete budget proposal in the coming weeks.