BLOOMBERG NEWS: Record Funding for Restoring Everglades Sought in Budget

f t # e
Washington, March 29, 2022 | comments
President Joe Biden is seeking a record $407 million for the Everglades restoration project in Florida, a priority for the state’s Democrats and Republicans. The request, embedded in the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget for fiscal 2023, is $57 million more than what the administration requested for the project in fiscal 2022, and comes on top of $1.1 billion allocated in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law.
share: f t
BLOOMBERG GOVERNMENT

Record Funding for Restoring Everglades Sought in Budget

President Joe Biden is seeking a record $407 million for the Everglades restoration project in Florida, a priority for the state’s Democrats and Republicans.

The request, embedded in the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget for fiscal 2023, is $57 million more than what the administration requested for the project in fiscal 2022, and comes on top of $1.1 billion allocated in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58).

“Paired with the $1.1 billion already on our way from the infrastructure law, this level of commitment is unparalleled,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a statement to Bloomberg Government. “I’m eager to work with my Appropriations colleagues to make more Everglades funding history with President Biden clearly at our side.”

The Florida Democrat is a member of the Energy and Water Development spending subcommittee, which oversees the Army Corps budget. Congress also appropriated $350 million for Everglades restoration for fiscal 2022, a 40% increase from the fiscal 2021 enacted level.

“This iconic American landscape provides drinking water supply for more than 8 million Floridians, supports the State’s $90 billion tourism economy, and is home to dozens of endangered or threatened species,” the administration said in its fiscal 2023 budget document.

Cost-Sharing

The Florida delegation has pushed the federal government to invest more in the 22-year-old program, known as the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration project, the largest such project in the world. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) unsuccessfully tried to boost the project’s funding to $725 million during negotiations over fiscal 2022 appropriations.

The Sunshine State has invested $4.5 billion for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration as of fiscal 2020. The Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-541) directed that the projects’ costs be split in half between Florida and the federal government. But the federal government to date hasn’t kept up with its share of payments over the last two decades for the project.

Overall, the White House requested $6.6 billion in fiscal 2023 discretionary funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees critical water resources projects across the country. The request is somewhat below what the administration asked for in fiscal 2022, but is designed to complement the $22.8 billion investment the Army Corps received as part of the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law and the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 117-43)

Earlier: U.S. Army Plans $14 Billion for Ports, Waterways, Climate Help

Congress typically provides more money to the agency during the appropriations process than the president requests. The agency received about $8 billion in discretionary funding from Congress for fiscal 2021.

f t # e