Marco Succeeds in Landmark Everglades Funding

Where was Patrick Murphy?

“When Floridians in Patrick Murphy’s own backyard were suffering from the algae crisis, he had the nerve to ask for a delay in relief assistance until he could take credit in a press conference. Once again, Murphy shamelessly put personal ambition ahead of Florida. Meanwhile, Marco was working hard to get things done. Marco’s efforts got CEPP passed in the Senate today, and it will be a significant step for resolving the serious water issues affecting Florida.” – Olivia Perez-Cubas, Rubio spokeswoman

Today, the Senate passed a water bill that included an authorization of the $1.9 billion Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP)

On September 15, 2016, the Senate passed The Water Resources Development Act of 2016. “The U.S. Senate today approved legislation authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to move forward on a major $1.9 billion Everglades-restoration project. The Central Everglades Planning Project, which was included in a broader water resources bill that the Senate approved today by a vote of 95-3, is a nearly $2 billion series of engineering projects designed to reduce the need for harmfulP discharges from Lake Okeechobee by sending more water south into the Everglades instead of east and west into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.” (The News-Press,9/15/16)

In January 2015, Marco and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced legislation to authorize CEPP

On January 8, 2015, Marco joined Sen. Bill Nelson in introducing S. 120, which would authorize CEPP. “Amends the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 to authorize the Secretary of the Army to carry out the project for environmental restoration, CERP, Central Everglades Planning Project, Florida, in accordance with the plans and subject to the conditions recommended in the final report of the Chief of Engineers signed on December 23, 2014.” (S. 120,  Library Of Congress, Accessed 8/18/16)

According to the Miami Herald, CEPP is “the next best hope for Florida’s ailing Everglades.”“The next best hope for Florida’s ailing Everglades may be a senator from Oklahoma who doesn’t believe in climate change.” (Jenny Staletvich, “Rubio Persuades Everglades Foe In Senate To Back Key Project,” Miami Herald, 3/10/16)

CEPP is an important step in helping solve the algae crisis in Port St. Lucie and the Treasure Coast. “But as he explained in an Other Views article last week, persistent lobbying by Sen. Marco Rubio helped him to change his mind. In his Senate speech, he cited the recent algae blooms in Port St. Lucie as symptoms of Everglades degradation that the legislation before the Senate is designed to address. Welcome to the cause, Sen. Inhofe.” (Editorial Board, “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/12/16)

Their legislation faced a major roadblock, with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), “the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee,” opposing it

Inhofe had opposed CEPP for over 15 years. “The Oklahoma Republican was the only senator to vote against the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan when it passed the Senate in 2000.”(Dan Sweeney, “U.S. Senate panel approves Everglades funding,” Sun Sentinel, 4/28/16)

In 2000, Inhofe was the only member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee to vote against CEPP.” “Inhofe is the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee who notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000.” (“Triumphant Rubio Talking up Major Everglades Restoration Coup at SFWMD,” Sunshine State News, 4/29/16)

Recently, Inhofe admitted: “I generally don’t like Everglades projects.” “Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, who chairs the relevant committee in the Senate, is a late, albeit heartily welcome convert to the issue of restoring the Everglades. ‘I generally don’t like Everglades projects,’ he said in a recent floor speech. ‘In fact, I can remember — it wasn’t that many years ago — when I was the only one voting against the Everglades Restoration Act.’” (Editorial Board, “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/12/16)

But Marco changed Inhofe’s mind, and he agreed to include the $1.9 billion CEPP project in the Senate’s Water Resources Development Act of 2016

Miami Herald headline: “Rubio persuades Everglades foe in Senate to back key project.” (Jenny Staletvich, “Rubio Persuades Everglades Foe In Senate To Back Key Project,” Miami Herald, 3/10/16)

  • -In March 2016, Sen. Rubio was credited for persuading “the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee” to include CEPP in the Senate’s Water Resources Development Act. “Inhofe, the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000. … Inhofe, who believes climate change is a hoax, said he now intends to back the Everglades project Wednesday when his committee takes up the Water Resources Development Act, the tool for getting such massive projects ready for funding. His change of heart came when Rubio explained that the Comprehensive Everglades Planning Project contains specific fixes as opposed to the sweeping changes engineered in the broader Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, Inhofe said.” (Jenny Staletvich, “Rubio Persuades Everglades Foe In Senate To Back Key Project,” Miami Herald, 3/10/16)

Sun Sentinel: “Rubio played a direct role in getting the Everglades project included in the package.” “Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio played a direct role in getting the Everglades project included in the package. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate’s environment committee, is a climate change denier who takes a dim view of large-scale projects such as Everglades restoration. The Oklahoma Republican was the only senator to vote against the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan when it passed the Senate in 2000. But according to Inhofe, Rubio persuaded him to include the Florida projects in the bill.” (Dan Sweeney, “U.S. Senate panel approves Everglades funding,” Sun Sentinel, 4/28/16)

Sunshine State News: “Rubio has had a major role to play in this success.” “Rubio has had a major role to play in this success. Like most of Florida’s congressional delegation, he has long advocated for CEPP. But according to the Miami Herald, in March Rubio convinced Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. — perhaps the best known climate change skeptic in the U.S. Senate — to back the $1.9 billion suite of Everglades restoration projects. Inhofe told the Herald his change of heart came when Rubio explained that CEPP contains specific fixes as opposed to the sweeping changes engineered in the broader Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Inhofe is the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee who notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000.” (“Triumphant Rubio Talking up Major Everglades Restoration Coup at SFWMD,”Sunshine State News, 4/29/16)

In April 2016, S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. (S. 2848, Library Of Congress, Accessed 8/22/16)

Inhofe penned an op-ed explaining how Marco persuaded him on CEPP

Miami Herald: “Oklahoma senator: Why I support restoration of the Florida Everglades.”“Many stories have been written anointing me as the “only Senator to oppose the Everglades restoration” due to my vote against the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000. My opposition to this important project has since changed, largely in part to my friend and colleague Sen. Marco Rubio.” (Sen. Jim Inhofe, Op-Ed, “Oklahoma senator: Why I support restoration of the Florida Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/8/16)

Inhofe: “Marco was asking for this project because he recognized an opportunity to address a genuine need.” “Marco was asking for this project because he recognized an opportunity to address a genuine need. At that time, WRDA wasn’t slated for consideration in my committee until after the Florida presidential primary, and Marco wasn’t running for reelection to the U.S. Senate. He simply brought forward a compelling case, and we put CEPP into the base of the WRDA 2016 bill.” (Sen. Jim Inhofe, Op-Ed, “Oklahoma senator: Why I support restoration of the Florida Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/8/16)

This week, ahead of today’s Senate vote, the Miami Herald editorial board called CEPP “an opportunity that must not be missed”

Miami Herald editorial board headline: “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades.” (Editorial Board, “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/12/16)

The Senate’s approval of CEPP “energizes the decades-long effort to restore the well-being of the Florida Everglades.” “The Senate is tantalizingly close to approving legislation that energizes the decades-long effort to restore the well-being of the Florida Everglades. This is an opportunity that must not be missed, as it was two years ago when the region’s ecosystem failed to win inclusion in a similar bill to approve water resources development programs around the country. … What this legislation (the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, or WRDA) does, essentially, is to clear that path. According to the Everglades Foundation, the plan green lights an engineering blueprint designed to convey water from the lake southward, clean water from Lake Okeechobee before it reaches the Everglades, and remove obstacles in the way.” (Editorial Board, “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/12/16)

“Persistent lobbying by Sen. Marco Rubio helped [Inhofe] change his mind.” “But as he explained in an Other Views article last week, persistent lobbying by Sen. Marco Rubio helped him to change his mind.” (Editorial Board, “Pass this bill to help restore the Everglades,” Miami Herald, 9/12/16)

CEPP is “aimed at stopping the kind of crisis that gripped South Florida over the winter when El Niño dropped record rain.” “This week, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Miami Herald that fellow Sen. Marco Rubio had convinced him to back a suite of Everglades restoration projects expected to cost about $1.9 billion and aimed at stopping the kind of crisis that gripped South Florida over the winter when El Niño dropped record rain.” (Jenny Staletvich, “Rubio Persuades Everglades Foe In Senate To Back Key Project,” Miami Herald, 3/10/16)

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