President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday afternoon to announce he supports $200 million in funding to restore the Florida Everglades.
“My Administration will be fighting for $200 million for the Army Corps Everglades restoration work this year. Congress needs to help us complete the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration project ASAP! Good for Florida and good for the environment,” the president tweeted.
It’s a far cry from $63.3 million that had been carved out in the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal. To make matters worse the $63.3 million included projects that weren’t part of Everglades restoration.
Florida lawmakers criticized the original plan, releasing a joint statement back in March.
“For the third year in a row, the administration’s budget request underfunds critical projects in South Florida. It is incredibly short-sighted to continue to underfund a series of projects that are absolutely necessary to ensure the environmental sustainability and economic vitality of one of the most dynamic regions of our nation,” read the statement from Rep. Brian Mast’s office in coordination with Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Francis Rooney.
A few hours before Trump’s tweet, Sen. Rubio had shared on social media a letter he had been sent by the South Florida Water Management District asking for help to “secure a sustained $200 million in annual federal funding for restoration.”
Rubio was elated to hear the president push for more funds, writing on Twitter, “The significance of this decision by @realDonaldTrump can’t be overstated. Easier to fight for the amount in @POTUS proposed budget in the Appropriations Committee than it is to get a 300% increase of his previous request.”
Sen. Scott also released a statement in support of Trump’s call for $200 million.
“Everglades restoration is critically important to the State of Florida and enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress,” Scott stated. “I applaud the Administration’s commitment to protecting Florida’s natural treasures for generations to come.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who thanked Trump for his “continued commitment to Florida,” made Everglades restoration a key part of his campaign and stepped up when he recommended more than $625 million in state funds be set aside for environmental projects.
$360 Million for Everglades Restoration
$150 Million for Targeted Water Quality Improvements
$50 Million to Restore Florida’s World-Renowned Springs
$25 Million to Improve Water Quality and Combat Harmful Algal Blooms
$40 Million for Alternative Water Supply Development
At the time he signed the proposal, DeSantis said, in part, “This is something that Floridians from all walks of life and political persuasions think needs to be done.”
Everglades restoration was also a priority of the governor’s newly appointed South Florida Water Management District governing board.
“We are working hard to accelerate projects as we can, but of course, that depends on federal and on state funding,” said South Florida Water Management District spokesman Sean Cooley. “The state has been a generous provider, but the federal government needs to step it up. This is an enlightening and wonderful move.”
However, the president’s recommendation is just that. The appropriation of additional funds for Everglades restoration projects falls on Congress to approve.
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.