MIAMI – Today, President Trump released his proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2020. If adopted, the proposed cuts include a 31 percent decrease in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal sponsor of Everglades restoration. Audubon Florida Director of Everglades Policy Celeste De Palma commented on the proposed cuts:
“America’s Everglades are in steep decline, as evidenced by chronic toxic algal blooms affecting Florida’s coastal communities and wildlife. The River of Grass needs meaningful federal investment. Disappointingly, the Administration’s proposed budget cuts may fall short of meeting Florida’s needs. We’re calling on Congress to step up and uphold the $200 million federal commitment to the Everglades.”
“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is calling for an unprecedented investment of state dollars in Everglades restoration. We hope Congress will join him by fully funding the federal commitment to the River of Grass. Last month, Gov. DeSantis and Senators Rubio and Scott called on the President to support $200 million in the upcoming fiscal year for Everglades restoration. This level of funding will allow our federal partners to meet the urgent need for this ambitious ecosystem restoration to deliver clean water for Florida’s wildlife, families, and businesses. The time for bold and sustained investment in Everglades restoration is now,” De Palma added.
This past summer, Florida experienced the longest red tide on record and toxic blue-green algae blooms resulting in thousands of pounds of dead marine life and birds, shuttered businesses, angered visitors and beachgoers, and sickened Floridians. With a number of projects nearing completion within the next five years, sustained and increased funding from Congress can finally deliver the results so desperately needed by the people of Florida and our cherished birds and wildlife.