Funding Level Nearly Triples Last Year’s Allocation For South Florida Ecosystem Restoration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today passed the 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which was amended to include $200 million in funding for Everglades restoration at the urging of U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18).
“The federal government, in the last century, manipulated Florida’s water to bring it to where it wasn’t wanted and now we don’t get the water to where it is needed in the Everglades. As a result, the Everglades is dying, our communities are getting killed by harmful discharges and Florida’s public health is being severely threatened,” Rep. Mast said. “Congress committed itself to a solution to this problem back in 2000 when it authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, but since then the federal government has failed to live up to its commitment. I won’t allow that to continue. We are going to make this historic commitment to Everglades restoration because this funding is what we need to reverse this man-made, environmental and public health disaster.”
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.
- Last week, 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.
- Yesterday, 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.
- Today, at their urging, the committee amended and passed the FY 2020 Appropriations bill with $200 million in funding for Everglades Restoration.
- The next step in the legislative process is for the bill to receive a vote before the full U.S. House of Representatives.