2020 Appropriations Package Passes House, Includes $200 Million For South Florida Ecosystem Restoration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the urging of U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), the U.S. House of Representatives today passed a critical increase in funding for Everglades restoration. The appropriations package will nearly triple funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, which funds the Everglades Agricultural Area Southern Storage Reservoir Project, from $67.5 million in FY 2019 to $200 million for FY 2020.
“After a year of fighting tooth and nail, today Congress finally stopped kicking the can down the road and came together to triple funding for Everglades restoration projects, including the southern storage reservoir,” Rep. Mast said. “This is a huge victory for the Everglades and our fight to stop harmful discharges.”
In addition to funding Everglades restoration, Rep. Mast also fought for and secured additional water quality funding, including:
- $100 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Environmental Restoration or Compliance programs, which can be used for Everglades restoration projects.
- $100 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Environmental Infrastructure programs, which can be used for additional restoration programs in Florida.
- $10 million for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration programs, which can be used for additional restoration programs in Florida.
- $29.8 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Estuary Program.
- $4.8 million for the EPA’s South Florida Geographic Program.
- $10 million for the National Parks Service operations of Everglades National Park restoration initiatives.
- $8.3 million for the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct research into Everglades restoration.
- $50.1 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shore protection projects.
- $19 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Science and Assessment Program.
- $14 million for NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Acidification Program.
Timeline of Events
- At the beginning of this year, Rep. Mast urged the White House to include $200 million in Everglades Restoration funding in their budget request.
- In mid-March, the White House released a budget that included less than $70 million in Everglades Restoration funding. Rep. Mast joined Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott and Congressman Francis Rooney (FL-19) in speaking out against that decision.
- Later in March, President Trump visited Lake Okeechobee where Rep. Mast made the pitch to the President to increase Everglades restoration funding, specifically citing the need to prevent harmful algal blooms.
- While continuing to work behind the scenes to convince the Administration to amend their budget request, at the beginning of April, Rep. Mast—as well as Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Francis Rooney (FL-19) and Alcee Hastings (FL-20)—urged the Appropriations Committee to fully fund Everglades restoration.
- Rep. Mast also testified before the Appropriations Committee about the importance of this funding in April.
- On May 14, 2019, at the urging of Rep. Mast and other members of the Congressional delegation, the President amended his budget request to include $200 million in Everglades restoration.
- The day after the budget was amended, the Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Subcommittee nonetheless passed an appropriations bill that included less than $70 million in Everglades restoration funding.
- On May 20, 2019, after nearly a week of lobbying the committee to increase this funding amount, Reps. Mast, Mucarsel-Powell, Rooney and Hastings led a bipartisan group of Florida Members in formally urging the committee to meet the President’s amended budget request.
- On May 21, 2019, at their urging, the committee amended and passed the FY2020 Appropriations bill with $200 million in funding for Everglades Restoration.
- On September 19, 2019, after failing to reach an agreement on appropriations bills, House Democrats voted to pass a two month Continuing Resolution that locked in lower funding levels for Everglades restoration. Rep. Mast opposed this bill because of the lower funding levels for Everglades restoration.
- On November 18, 2019, House Democrats again passed a four week Continuing Resolution to maintain lower funding levels for Everglades restoration. Rep. Mast opposed this bill because of the lower funding levels for Everglades restoration.
- At Rep. Mast’s urging, on December 17, 2019, the House passed the FY2020 Appropriations bill with $200 million in funding for Everglades Restoration.
This appropriations bill is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump in the coming days.