The U.S. Senate has approved legislation that authorizes a planned EAA Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, according to Congressman Brian Mast. He now says it will be sent to President Trump to sign into law.
The South Florida Water Management District has said the reservoir will reduce discharges by about 65 percent.
“Fixing our water issues is without a doubt the most important priority for our community,” Rep. Mast said in a statement. “We know people are getting sick, animals are dying and the environment is being absolutely demolished. Authorizing the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir is a momentous accomplishment for our Treasure Coast community, and I urge the President to sign our bill into law as soon as possible.”
Congressman Mast said some of the provisions of the legislation should reduce discharges to the east and west coasts of Florida.
“I’m glad to see this project that Sen. Rubio and I have worked so hard to advance has passed the Senate,” Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement. “This reservoir is particularly important right now to help mitigate the toxic algae crisis that’s sweeping the state, but it's also critical for our broader Everglades restoration effort.”
The Everglades Foundation issued this statement on the passage of the bill:
“We want to recognize and thank outgoing Florida Senate President Joe Negron, whose political leadership and personal courage made it possible for the Everglades Reservoir to be included in today’s vote.
“This is a victory by the people of Florida, who put their collective feet down and said, ‘Enough!’
“By the tens of thousands, they made their voices heard from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C., demanding action, finally, on the 18-year-old plan to store, clean and send Lake Okeechobee water south to the Everglades and the Florida Keys.
“Now, the real work begins. The history of Everglades restoration is littered with back-slapping celebrations followed by communal amnesia as projects that began in earnest were abandoned, delayed or held hostage to special interest politics.
“Floridians can never forget the environmental catastrophe we now face, nor the economic disaster and public health emergency it has caused. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that funding commitments are kept, and we must insist that the Reservoir be built in four years, not ten: I don’t want my youngest child to have to graduate high school before she gets to experience the Everglades, beaches and waterways that drew us all here in the first place.”