U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to prioritize the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), including completion of the reservoir authorized by Florida Senate Bill 10, in his budget request to Congress this year.
The text of the letter is below and attached:
January 17, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Thank you for supporting the needs of all Floridians by advancing an expedited timeline to rehabilitate the Herbert Hoover Dike. This action is a critical step in ensuring the safety of millions of Floridians.
Beyond the rehabilitation of one of the country’s most vulnerable pieces of infrastructure, however, there is a greater mission ahead: the completion of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP).
While the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike is necessary to flood control and human safety, it is just one part of a much larger and comprehensive series of infrastructure projects required to preserve the health, economy and environment of Florida. These Congressionally-authorized projects create a roadmap to ensure the survival of Florida’s ecosystem, which has been continually altered by the federal government over the past century. Without restoration, Floridians from across the state will continue to combat life threatening events through rising waters, devastating storms and ecological destruction.
I ask that as you move forward with expediting the completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation that you also include requests to expedite CERP and CEPP. Expediting CERP and CEPP will do more than just preventing a catastrophic flood. These projects will restore sustainability, livelihoods and resiliency of communities that have been lost at the hands of the federal government. In order for this to succeed, we need:
- $1.4 billion for the EAA Reservoir to build necessary storage and treatment features;
- $1.98 billion for the Central Everglades Plan to restore freshwater flow to the Everglades and Florida Bay to reduce harmful discharges;
- $80 million for C-44, the St. Lucie Estuary Storm Water Treatment Areas, to reduce and clean harmful discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary;
- $12 million for C-43 to help restore the natural flow of water to the Caloosahatchee River;
- $20 million to complete the Picayune Strand, a 55,000-acre habitat restoration in the Western Everglades;
- $210 million for the Tamiami Trail Bridging to remove a logjam, allowing for sheet-flow restoration;
- $4 million for C-111 South Dade to improve freshwater flow to the southern Everglades, including the Taylor Slough and Florida Bay;
- $71 million for Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project Phase I to restore the natural pattern of freshwater inflows to Biscayne Bay;
- $190 million for C-11, the Broward Water Preserve Area, to improve water quality and reduce seepage loss from central Everglades, increase water supply and reduce saltwater intrusion in Broward County;
- $71 million for the Kissimmee River Restoration to restore critical floodplain habitat and flows to Lake Okeechobee.
Expediting the Herbert Hoover Dike is a great signal that your Administration intends to fulfill the promises of the federal government to correct the water problems imposed on Floridians under previous Administrations. Completion of the dike is an important step, but holding water in Lake Okeechobee does not solve the fundamental issue of safely and responsibly channeling that water to where nature always intended it to flow: the Everglades.
I look forward to working with you on removing bureaucratic inefficiencies and ensuring adequate appropriations to put the entire solution back on track. Including these priorities in your budget request for fiscal year 2019, prioritizing CERP and CEPP along with the Herbert Hoover Dike, would go a long way toward achieving our shared objectives.
Brian J. Mast
Member of Congress