Source: United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio
Washington, D.C. — The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which included key Florida funding and language provisions secured by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Notably, the bill includes critical funding and language for continued progress on Everglades restoration projects, coral disease research and response, Harmful Algal Blooms, water quality, and wildlife. Rubio serves as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environmental, and Related Agencies. “As a member of the Committee on Appropriations, I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to craft this funding bill which includes critical federal support for important Florida priorities, including for Everglades restoration, coral reefs, and hurricane recovery.” Rubio said. “I look forward to when the full Senate advances this measure to ensure continued progress for Florida’s environment and natural resources—cornerstones of our state’s economy.” On Tuesday, standing up to protect Florida’s beaches and economy, Rubio secured a commitment from Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chairman Murkowski to work together on a path forward to extend the current moratorium on oil drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this month, Rubio secured critical funding for Florida in additional appropriations bills advanced by the full committee, which can be found here and here. Rubio provisions in the FY2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill ($35.8 billion) include: Interior:Report languages and funding highlighting the critical progress towards Everglades Restoration.
Report language acknowledges unique opportunity for Miami-Dade County to assist in land purchases and swaps to protect a vital project footprint to implement the Bird Drive Basin Conveyance, Seepage Collection, and Recharge concept and achieve the goals of the original Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan Bird Drive Recharge Area project
Report language encourages the Department of Interior to work with the Federal and state partners to make progress towards completing an important element of the CERP. Additionally, expects the National Park Service to complete and transit the complete design package for the Tamiami Trail Next Steps Final Phase to the Florida Department of Transportation no later than February 28, 2020.
Report language related to exotic plant management in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and up to $10 million in funding towards control of invasive species, with an emphasis on agency activities in the Everglades.
Report language urges U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to continue all efforts to consult and coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the biological opinions for the Central Everglades Planning Project South Phase and New Water Phase, including the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, to enable the initiation of construction critical elements of the CEPP in fiscal year 2020
Additional $100,000 for Florida Grasshopper Sparrow recovery efforts
Report language encouraging USFWS to contribute funding aligned with commitments established in the 2018 license agreement with the South Florida Water Management District towards the management of invasive plant infestations
Report language on Unknown Florida Panther Disorder: encourages the Service to assist FWC in increasing monitoring efforts to locate impacted animals, and work cooperatively with the state of Florida, including through the provision of technical assistance, to diagnose and determine the causes of this concerning disorder that could threaten the recovery of the endangered Florida panther.
$3.7 million for land acquisition for Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge
$1.5 million for land acquisition for St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
$400,000 for Coral Disease research, detection, and response (USGS)
Report language noting grave ecological threats and public nuisance posed by many invasive species (including Burmese Pythons Lionfish) and directs USGS to prioritize research, detection, and response efforts
$44.5 million for USGS Climate Adaptation Centers
Report language recognizing increased challenges many communities face from Harmful Algal Blooms. Encourages agency to fund research grants that help promote scientific progress towards preventing and controlling HABs in freshwater and coastal ecosystems.
$25 million bill-wide and report language for PFAS and contaminants of emerging concern
$4.704 million for the South Florida Geographic Program ($1.5 million increased)
$1 million to monitor coral health in South Florida
$650,000 to enhance water quality and seagrass monitoring in Caloosahatchee Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon, especially with respect to assessing the impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges and HABs
$650,000 to enhance water quality and seagrass monitoring in Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay, especially with respect to assessing the impact of Everglades Restoration projects and HABs
$20.5 million for Sewer Overflow Control Grants
$73 million for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
$1.639 million for Clean Water State Revolving Fund
$1.13 million for Clean Water State Revolving Fund
$28.9 million for the National Estuary program, including support for Florida four NEPs at Charlotte Harbor, Indian River Lagoon, Sarasota, and Tampa Bay.
Report language related to the damages caused by Hurricane Michael on the Apalachicola National Forest
Report language supporting creation of the Museum of the American Latino within the Smithsonian Institution.
$63.9 million for the Forest Legacy Program, including $2.9 million for Welannee Watershed Forest