Diaz-Balart and Rooney: Interior Appropriations Protects Everglades for Future Generations
WASHINGTON – Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Francis Rooney (FL-19) released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill for fiscal year 2018. These funds are in addition to $76.5 million for Everglades restoration and $82 million for the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike that were included in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018.
“As Floridians, we are lucky to have natural treasures like Everglades National Park right in our backyards. I am the proud Founder and Co-Chair of the Everglades Caucus, and fighting for the Everglades has always been one of my top priorities in Congress. The funding provided in this legislation continues much needed restoration and revitalization projects. We also included funds for vital scientific research taking place, allowing the U.S. Geological Survey to study and better understand the Everglades ecosystem. Within this bill, funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program is also provided. PILT is a critical program to local governments in Florida, like Collier County, who depend on that money to support first responders and social services,” said Congressman Diaz-Balart.
“I congratulate Chairman Frelinghuysen and Subcommittee Chairman Calvert on their leadership, and I look forward to continue working with them to help preserve the Everglades for future generations,” continued Congressman Diaz-Balart.
Congressman Francis Rooney stated, “Everglades restoration is vital to the ecology and economy of our community. Last evening's appropriations secured the funding necessary to begin advancing key projects that will be ongoing for the next several years. I am thankful to the committee for approving the full funding amount requested by the Department of Interior and I will continue to fight for additional resources from every available source. In a budget year where countless programs are being cut in an effort to address our obscene national debt of $20 trillion, every dollar obtained for the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee Watershed is critical.”
Highlights from the legislation include:
- $8 million for Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and $46 million for non-CERP Everglades projects
- $10 million for planning and interagency coordination in support of Everglades restoration
- $3.4 billion for wildland firefighting and prevention
- $3.2 billion for the State and Tribal Assistance Grants account
- $1.5 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Language expressing concerning over Biscayne National Park’s proposed marine reserve zone
- $465 million for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program
- $153 million for ecosystem programs under the U.S. Geological Survey, including those in the Everglades
- $30 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program
- Language supporting the inclusion of Latino contributions in Smithsonian Institute programs, exhibitions, collections, and public outreach