Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) today released the following statement regarding Senate Bill 2508, which safeguards state taxpayer funds dedicated to clean water resources and protects state water rights from federal government intrusion.
“Floridians have invested billions of their hard earned dollars in environmental restoration and this Senate is going to safeguard that investment. I am never going to cede one inch of state authority over our water resources to Joe Biden’s federal government – the same administration that did not include one dollar of federal funding for the reservoir in their so-called infrastructure bill.
“Our Senate bill does not in any way reverse or hinder Everglades restoration and is entirely consistent with current policy. In fact, the bill protects existing state funding for the EAA Reservoir and cements into state law current successful water management practices that Joe Biden’s federal government is looking to change. The bill makes it clear that the South Florida Water Management District needs to advocate for our state water interests, under current law – not whatever the Biden Administration wants to do.
“SB 2508 does not change the goals of the EAA Reservoir, or go back on any commitment this state has made to the environment during my 10 years of service. The successful environmental projects Governor DeSantis has championed were actually started long ago with funding and policy approved by the Florida Legislature. I agree with Governor DeSantis’ commitment to our environment, and I too have long-championed these issues. I sponsored the 2013 Everglades Improvement and Management Act, which created a single comprehensive plan for achieving the restoration efforts envisioned under the Everglades Forever Act. As Senate Majority Leader in 2017, I helped draft and worked to pass the EAA Reservoir legislation, which expedited and provided dedicated funding for southern storage, while prioritizing other critical water projects around Lake Okeechobee. For special interests to suggest that under my leadership the Senate would go back on those commitments is not only ludicrous, it is deliberately dishonest political gamesmanship.
“Furthermore, no Senator has to check in with a state agency before filing a bill. I report to the people of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties, not appointed bureaucrats.”