State representatives push funding for Everglades restoration

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Ariel photo of Florida Everglades National Park via WINK News
Ariel photo of Florida Everglades National Park via WINK News

When it comes to clean water in Florida, Congressman Rooney says it starts at the source.

“Our whole livelihood and reason for being in SWFL depends on healthy water, and the Everglades is the prime generator for good or bad water here,” Rooney said.

He is on a mission to restore, protect and preserve clean water, and says in order to do that, Florida needs more federal funding.

On Thursday, Rooney brought Congressman Mike Simpson from Idaho and local Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for a firsthand look.

“I can say everything I saw here before, obviously is important to this region of the country and the country as a whole, so like I said, it will be a lot easier to know what I’m putting money into the ’19 budget,” Simpson said.

The Everglades is an ecosystem that depends on the right balance of fresh and salt water to stay healthy.

One of the proposed plans is to elevate Tamiami Trail to help restore the natural flow of the Everglades.

President and CEO of the Conservancy, Rob Moher, says water quality impacts all parts of our lives and economy.

“Why does it matter? We get all of our drinking water from the Everglades. All of those ecosystems that provide those benefits back to us, the tourism,” he said.

And more federal funds can help get the job done.

“Having a healthy environment is having a healthy Everglades and healthy Everglades takes restoration, and that’s why we need federal and state partnership to finish what we started,” Moher said.

Rep. Rooney sent a statement Thursday saying the bi-partisan funding bill the House passed gives the full amount requested by the Army Corps for Everglades restoration projects. That bill now heads to the Senate.

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