OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — President Trump was welcomed and echoed praise from Republican lawmakers as he toured Lake Okeechobee.
He said, “ We’re making it stronger than it would ever have been and its really in great shape.”
With Governor Ron Desantis and an all-star Florida congressional delegation in tow, President Trump focused on his fast-tracked timeline -now 2022 instead of 2025 —to finish repairs on the 80-plus-year-old Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. It is a $1.6 billion job and some of that repair work served as a backdrop today.
The health of the lake, farming towns here, the Everglades and coastal communities beset by algal crises go hand in hand.
Governor Ron Desantis said, “Our state legislature this session is answering my call for historic support of water resources and water quality.”
Still, Republican lawmakers recently criticized the president for axing Everglades restoration spending from $200 million to $63 million next year in the federal budget. There is a push to get that federal money back. Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott said,
“I’m so very appreciative we are getting the dike money but the feds have got to be a partner and I’m going to keep working on it.”
Presidential visits to Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades are nothing new. Now all sides wait to see if the latest promises hold up after the photo ops fade from view.