Rubio and Florida Lawmakers Request $725 Million from Biden for Everglades Restoration

Credits: Florida Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio and a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Florida have requested at least $725 million in funding for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) program in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget.

The SFER program aims to restore the Everglades and address issues stemming from disrupted natural water flow caused by historic drainage efforts.

In a letter dated March 6, Rubio and eight House lawmakers highlighted recent environmental challenges in Florida, including the dumping of nutrient-laden water into rivers.

Rubio and Florida Lawmaker (Credits: Senator Marco Rubiob)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began discharging water into various Florida water bodies due to high levels in Lake Okeechobee, leading to concerns about its impact on wildlife and water quality.

The lawmakers emphasized the importance of completing Everglades restoration projects to improve water management, reduce harmful discharges, and prevent water shortages in southern Florida.

They specifically mentioned the Everglades Agriculture Area (EAA) project as crucial for mitigating discharge volumes and frequencies.

The letter urged the Biden administration to allocate funding for the SFER program, with a significant portion dedicated to the construction of the EAA project, estimated to require around $3 billion. The lawmakers also called for the approval of incremental funding for the EAA to ensure its timely completion.

Biden is set to release his Fiscal Year 2025 budget soon, and the lawmakers are awaiting a response from the White House regarding their funding request. Alongside Sen. Rubio, other signatories of the letter include several Florida representatives from both parties.

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