President Barack Obama visits the Florida Everglades on Wednesday to mark Earth Day 2015 and raise awareness of the state’s increasing risk from climate change.
In response, Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement calling on Obama and the federal government to “live up to his commitment” to the region by ending a $58 million backlog in funding for the Everglades National Park.
With his first visit as president to the area, Obama expects to highlight Florida’s status as one of regions in the United States most vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels and other environmental impacts.
The full text of Scott’s statement:
“Florida is blessed with a pristine environment and our natural resources help create a foundation for our growing economy. We are focused on real solutions when it comes to protecting our environment and we have made strategic investments to better protect our state’s natural treasures, including an $880 million Everglades water quality program.
“To date, we have invested $1.9 billion in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP), almost a billion more than the federal government, and this year we are proposing a dedicated source of revenue that will provide more than $5 billion for Everglades restoration over the next 20 years.
“President Obama needs to live up to his commitment on the Everglades and find a way to fund the $58 million in backlog funding Everglades National Park hasn’t received from the federal government. This has caused critical maintenance delays in the Everglades to linger for over a year. We also need the federal government to step up their commitment to Everglades restoration by immediately requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Lake Okeechobee dike.
“As we continue to make important investments in our environment, the President’s latest budget cuts millions from the repair of the Lake Okeechobee Dike – the rehabilitation of which is critical to the protection of south Florida’s estuaries. Our environment is too important to neglect and it’s time for the federal government to focus on real solutions and live up to their promises.”