This week voting rights took up the majority of political rhetoric and attention on Capitol Hill, however environmental policy had an important presence for the state of Florida. US Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) along with her Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives are touting having allocated over $1 billion to Everglades restoration funds.
US Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and US Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), joined Rep. Murphy as the three congresswomen that joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to announce that $1.1 billion will be directed to Everglades restoration efforts from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law.
In the $17 billion piece of legislation, the Army plan funds the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration program at $1.098 billion, a historic funding level that will enable significant progress in restoring Florida’s nationally significant Everglades ecosystem. In the coming year, the Army will engage with environmental justice communities in the development of a strategy to allocate $130 million in two pilot programs authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 that target economically disadvantaged community’ needs.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to Florida and we must take proactive steps to protect our beloved natural treasures before it’s too late,” said Murphy. “The Everglades is an iconic part of our state’s environment, providing drinking water to over 8 million Floridians, bolstering our local tourism economy, and serving as a home to hundreds of animal species, many of whom are endangered. This historic funding will not only restore and revitalize this vital ecosystem for generations to come, but it will also be a huge step forward to combat climate change in the Sunshine State.”
The bill is a bipartisan piece of legislation that Representative Murphy valiantly fought to get passed. Restoring the Everglades supports inland and coastal flood protection, recreation, habitat and ecosystem protection, human and ecological resilience, and drinking water security. This funding would be supplemented by $350 million set aside for Everglades restoration in the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which is pending before Congress.
Murphy is set to leave her office in January of 2023 after disclosing that she will not be seeking re-election in the central Florida district. The race is being sought after by a hotly contested Republican primary between front runners State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-32) and Businessman and Combat Veteran Cory Mills (R).