Diaz-Balart Votes for EAA Storage Reservoir, Herbert Hoover Dike Funding, Continued Everglades Restoration
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations and Founder and Co-Chair of the House Everglades Caucus, issued the following statement after the passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 and the fiscal year 2019 Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 is a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
“Today, Congress took another step forward in continued Everglades restoration and protection from flooding and harmful algal blooms in the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which authorizes the construction of the EAA Storage Reservoir, is a much-needed solution as Lake Okeechobee and Southern Florida's coasts continue to suffer from algal bloom. The EAA Storage Reservoir has been a top priority for Florida, and I am glad we could work together with our partners at the local and state levels to address the issue in an effective and expedient manner. The bill also includes a provision to ensure Lake Okeechobee's water levels coincide with the expedited completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike, reducing the risk of flooding in the surrounding Hendry County communities.
“Similarly, with passage of the Appropriations bill, Southern Florida will continue to see dividends as the bill contains provisions that further the expedited completion of the dike, as well as Everglades restoration. Specifically, it provides the dike with $96 million, $14 million above last year’s level. These funds, combined with the $514 million I helped secure this July from the hurricane relief and recovery funding package, are anticipated to complete this much-needed rehabilitation project by 2022-2023. I look forward to this achievement being reached and am proud to have had a part in securing the necessary funding from Congress. As an Appropriator and Founder and Co-Chair of the House Everglades Caucus, I will continue to be a stalwart advocate for Everglades restoration and ensure the necessary funds are delivered to our state.
“I thank Speaker Ryan, Chairman Shuster, Chairman Frelinghuysen, and Subcommittee Chairman Simpson for their support in getting these bills to the floor. By approving these bills, Congress has proven it prioritizes Florida’s waterways and ecosystem.”
As a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations Diaz-Balart was able to secure the following federal dollars:
Energy and Water
- $67.5 million for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (which includes projects from the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP)
- $96 million for Herbert Hoover Dike
- $50 million for Donor/Energy transfer ports, such as Port Miami, build needed infrastructure improvements
- $100 million for Dam Safety and Seepage/Stability Correction Program
- $150 million for flood and storm damage reduction
- $40 million for inland waterways
- $54 million for small, remote, or subsistence navigation
- $24 million for navigation maintenance
- Funding to support continued operations, maintenance, and improvements of Florida’s waterways and ports
- Language ensuring the Herbert Hoover Dike remain eligible for the Dam Safety and Seepage/Stability Correction Program
- Language clarifying the Army Corps is authorized to cost-share on water quality project features and components
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
- $86.5 billion (an increase of $5 billion) for the Department of Veterans Affairs funds for new and expanded Mission Act programs, increases in mental health services, modernizing the VA’s health records system, and addressing the claims backlog
- $10.3 billion to continue rebuilding our military’s infrastructure
- $1.6 billion for housing to support 1.4 million military families currently served
- $456.3 million for the U.S. Capitol Police, to enhance the safety and security of the Capitol and Complex and the visitors, staff, and Members who walk the halls of Congress every day
- For the first time, the legislation also dedicates up to $20,000 per Member office for paid internship positions