Rooney Votes Yes on Everglades Restoration
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Thomas Rooney voted in support of legislation to authorize the Central Everglades Planning Project, which will greatly improve the water flows through the northern estuaries, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 is a comprehensive water bill that addresses America’s water resource infrastructure needs by authorizing important studies and projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ mission areas.
Passing the House with vast bipartisan support, the Water Resources Development Act is critical to restoring the Everglades and is supported by more than 60 member organizations of the Everglades Coalition.
“With Congressman Tom Rooney’s continued stewardship, we have seen significant progress toward restoring the Everglades,” said South Florida Water Management District Chairman Daniel O’Keefe. “Approval of the federal water bill by the full Congress, followed by appropriating funding, is vital to complete the Central Everglades Planning Project.”
Notably for Florida, the bill includes flood protection projects, hurricane damage reduction programs, shoreline protection projects and environmental restoration projects. The bill also authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project which will improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water flows to the northern estuaries, central Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, while increasing water supply for municipalities, industry and agricultural users.
This legislation accomplishes three main goals. First, this bill returns Congress to the regular order of authorizing water projects and then appropriating necessary funds, allowing lawmakers to identify and prioritize which projects need completing instead of ceding that control to the administration. This will improve congressional oversight while also increasing local participation in project selection. Second, this bill authorizes much needed investments in ports, channels, locks and dams that support our maritime transportation system, strengthening our competitiveness and ensuring our transportation system remains attractive to private sector job creation. Finally, this bill accomplishes all of these goals in a fiscally responsible manner, off-setting new authorizations by allowing the authorizations of inactive projects to sunset.
Across the board, industries in Florida and across the country supported this bill.
Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said:
"The Farm Bureau believes having an efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports is vital to America's ability to provide affordable agricultural products domestically and to compete internationally. Passing the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 will to contribute to U.S. economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness for generations to come."
John Hoblick, President of the Florida Farm Bureau, said:
“The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 is essential to continue the important water quality improvement projects related to Lake Okeechobee and Everglades restoration. The State of Florida needs the federal government to step up and shoulder their responsibility in the 50/50 commitment to restore the remnant Everglades. Additionally, farmers, ranchers, and communities south of the lake deserve to feel safe and secure in their homes. Only a fully repaired Herbert Hoover Dike can accomplish this and this year’s WRDA is a step in the right direction.”
The bill passed the House of Representatives tonight by a vote of 399-25.