As you know, Florida possesses many of our nation’s most unique and delicate ecosystems. Our coastlines and wetlands are national treasures which must be preserved for all Americans. Yet, rising sea levels, polluted waterways, and the dwindling populations of native species remind us of the dire need for robust environmental protections that promote cleaner air, cleaner water, and preservation of our natural resources. The health of our environment is essential to the overall well being of Floridians and all Americans. We must understand that what we do today has a profound impact on future generations.
As part of this effort, it is critical that we continue our restoration efforts of Florida’s Everglades. Earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden toured the Everglades National Park and talked about the Administration’s plans for funding restoration projects.
Everglades restoration has been a bipartisan, state-federal partnership for more than a decade, and returning the Everglades to a more natural state will have broad positive benefits for Florida’s economy and natural resources. While progress over the years has been uneven, since 2008 we’ve seen a dramatic increase in federal resources as well as the commencement of several major federal projects – from construction on a Tamiami Trail bridge, to improving the ecosystem at Picayune Strand and the Indian River Lagoon.
Restoration of the Everglades has significant environmental and economic benefits for Florida. In addition to the seven million Floridians who rely on the Everglades for their primary source of drinking water, a study conducted for the Everglades Foundation showed that for every dollar invested in Everglades restoration, $4 are generated in economic benefits. This means that $11.5 billion invested in Everglades restoration would result in $46.5 billion in gains to Florida’s economy and create more than 440,000 jobs over the next 50 years, by spurring construction and tourism activity.
We are fortunate to have one of the world’s great wonders right here in South Florida, and restoring the Everglades serves as a reminder that we must leave this world better than we found it. Please be assured I will continue to support efforts to restore and preserve our environment, and oppose further efforts to roll back protections for the water we drink and the air we breathe. Protecting South Florida’s ecosystems, from our pristine coast line 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—our greatest national treasure—for future generations to enjoy.
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