Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the 2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which includes key provisions proposed by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would help advance critical Everglades restoration projects to benefit South Florida’s environment and economy, and help protect drinking water supplies.
Specifically, the bill includes funding for environmental and flood control infrastructure, including $82 million for the ongoing rehabilitation of Herbert Hoover Dike, and $76 million for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER), which includes Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects. Herbert Hoover Dike and SFER will both be eligible to compete with other projects throughout the nation for additional funding pots made available to the Army Corps of Engineers by this bill totaling $275 million and $40 million, respectively, to increase dedicated 2018 funding levels even more.
Additional Rubio provisions included in the accompanying report to the Energy and Water Development Act of 2018 that impact Everglades restoration include:
CEPP Expedited Validation Report: Recognizes the importance of restoring America’s Everglades, and urges the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the required validation report for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) so that the Corps can grant a new start to study and design the engineering and construction of this vital project.
Indian River Lagoon Expedited Preconstruction Engineering and Design: Recognizes the importance of eliminating discharges from Lake Okeechobee that help fuel harmful algal blooms in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. Urges the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite preparations for preconstruction engineering and design work on the C-23 and C-24 South Reservoirs that along with the C-44 Reservoir will serve as crucial elements of the Indian River Lagoon South CERP project to collect and clean discharges before they enter the Lagoon.
South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) Federal-State Cost Share Transparency: Directs the Corps to make an annual snapshot of the federal-state cost-share accounting for SFER publicly available to encourage transparency and trust between the Army Corps, non-federal project sponsors, and taxpayers.