Defending the environment to protect public health, ensure biodiversity and responsible ecosystem management, and safeguard for future generations to enjoy is among my top priorities as a public servant, South Florida resident, and mother of three.
While the Trump Administration pursues an assault on every one of our bedrock environmental statutes and tries to roll back and eliminate dozens of significant, progressive environmental regulations, we simply cannot waver in our fight against climate change and our efforts to safeguard our clean air and water.
In South Florida, we are fortunate to have one of the world’s great wonders in our backyard: the Florida Everglades, our famed River of Grass. Restoring this natural treasure is important not only to protect the water supply for more than 8 million Floridians and to protect biodiversity and endangered species, but also because I believe as a mother that we must leave this world better than we found it.
As a senior member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, I use my unique position to advocate for South Florida and Everglades restoration, take bold action on climate change and renewable energy, and improve the quality of our air and water. It is imperative, now more than ever, that we adequately fund ecosystem restoration and clean energy initiatives as Florida deals with the full effects of our global climate crisis.
During the last congressional session in the 115th Congress, through my work on the subcommittee, I helped secure $3.3 billion to protect our natural wetlands and clean drinking water. Additionally, I led the appropriations request to support the Florida Everglades, and the funds will be used to help restore the water flow for the Everglades, protect tourism-related jobs, and ensure the quality of South Florida’s drinking water supply.
When the Trump Administration announced its reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, I worked with locally elected Broward County officials to adopt a 100% Clean Energy Pledge. I am also working with my colleagues in the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) to pass the Climate Action Now Act, which would keep the United States in the Paris Agreement.
Finally, I have also worked side-by-side with my Democrat and Republican colleagues in the Florida delegation to protect Florida’s coasts and do something about harmful algal blooms. Using my seat on the Appropriations Committee, I worked with my Florida colleagues to secure funding for harmful algal bloom research in last year’s appropriations package. Harmful algal blooms and red tide are environmental, public health, and economic disasters that require much more research and investment, to both better understand and counteract.
Protecting South Florida’s ecosystems, from our internationally renowned beaches to the Everglades, is a fundamental responsibility that I do not take lightly. We must continue to work to make certain we have proper safeguards to protect the environment—using, not ignoring, settled science—to protect our people and our planet.
Big environmental issues like climate change are affecting us here and now. Our children and grandchildren did not create these problems. We cannot in good conscience leave it up to them to solve on their own.
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