Trump to visit environmental restoration projects in South Florida
President Trump will visit the Lake Okeechobee area Friday to address various infrastructure projects on and around the problematic lake. Contaminated lake discharges have caused harmful algae blooms for years in several South Florida rivers.
The Trump Administration has agreed to expedite completion of the long-delayed Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project, now expected to take place in 2022. The plan is a response to consistent water management troubles plaguing the state.
The project will involve federal and state monetary collaboration. Since 2001, the Corps has invested over $950 million in efforts to rehabilitate the dike. By the project’s completion, the Corps will spend an estimated additional $776 million.
Trump is expected to also address Everglades restoration projects south of Lake Okeechobee, specifically a $1.6 billion reservoir designed to help reduce discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers by 63 percent.
The federal Water Resources Development Act of October 2018, which highlights a list of national water management projects, calls for the federal government to pay half of the $1.6 billion project.
However, on March 13, the Trump Administration released a recommended budget calling for just $63 million for Everglades restoration, despite the $200 million budget that congressional delegation and environmentalists requested in February.
U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Frances Rooney, and Sens. Rubio and Scott released a joint statement in March drawing attention to the White House’s repetitive underfunding of Everglades projects, despite a gradual increase in requested funding each year.
“Failing to meet the basic federal funding commitments to restore the Everglades is contrary to the administration’s goal of improving project partnerships and cost-sharing with states,” the statement said.
By Sarah Roulette