Florida lawmakers introduce legislation to expedite all Everglades restoration projects
Florida lawmakers in both the U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation to expedite all Everglades-restoration projects that the Army Corps of Engineers has said are ready to begin. The move yesterday came just days after the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. The legislation was introduced by a bipartisan group of federal legislators led by Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Reps. Alcee L. Hastings and Mario Diaz-Balart.
The measures would automatically authorize any Everglades-restoration project the Army Corps of Engineers deems ready to begin in the next five years. One of those projects that would be authorized immediately if this legislation passes is the Central Everglades Planning Project, which is designed to increase water flow south into the Everglades, thereby reducing harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and improving the entire ecosystem. Usually projects such as this would be included in a broader water resources bill Congress passes every few years. But the legislation filed this week would allow it and any other project the Corps clears in the next five years to immediately begin moving forward.