Erik Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation and former chief of staff to Governor Charlie Crist, expressed gratitude to the Florida Legislature for its inclusion of $70 million for Everglades restoration in the FY 2014 state budget.
“Today is a great day for America’s Everglades,” said Eikenberg. “The last several months were productive as we implored the state to continue its commitment to Everglades restoration and protection. Having worked with Governor Rick Scott, President Don Gaetz, Speaker Will Weatherford, Chairman Joe Negron and Chairman Seth McKeel, we are pleased with the renewed commitment by the state.”
Of the $70 million, $38 will be directed toward Comprehensive Everglades Restoration projects (CERP) and $32 million will implement the Governor’s Water Quality Plan.
“Everglades protection is a bi-partisan issue,” Eikenberg continued. “These critical dollars in the state budget will more importantly protect the water supply of 1 in 3 Floridians, while creating much needed jobs. The economic benefits to Florida’s economy with this renewed investment by the Legislature will be felt for generations to come.”
Gov. Scott also praised the passage of this priority budget item.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. said, “Today, the Florida Legislature showed its support for Governor Scott’s historic water quality plan for the Everglades, a major step in moving forward with restoration rather than focusing on costly litigation.”