STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
By Mr. GRAHAM of Florida (for himself and Mr. NELSON of Florida):
S. 2046. A bill to authorize the exchange of certain land in Everglades National Park; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a bill with my colleague from Florida, Senator NELSON. Our bill is non-controversial and will allow the Department of the Interior and the South Florida Water Management District to perform a land exchange for the purpose of constructing the C-111 Spreader Canal Project under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, known as CERP. Both the Department of the Interior and the State of Florida have approved the language of the bill, and Senator NELSON and I hope to expedite passage of the bill through the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the full Senate.
CERP, which was authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, is the framework that guides our efforts to restore America's Everglades. It consists of over 60 major projects that will restore Everglades National Park and other areas of the greater Everglades ecosystem. The C-111 Spreader Canal Project is just one of the 60 component projects of CERP. The C-111 project will provide important environmental benefits to the Southern Glades and Model Lands and more natural sheet flow to Florida Bay while maintaining flood protection for surrounding agricultural and urban areas.
I am also pleased to report that Congressman MARIO DIAZ-BALART, who represents the relevant congressional district, and Congressman JIM DAVIS will introduce a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
2004 marks the beginning of the fourth year of CERP implementation and Everglades restoration. We have been hard at work getting through phase one-the planning and organizational phase of such an historic and monumental restoration project. We have now entered into phase two-building the projects that will deliver water to the Everglades and revive the dying ecosystem. As we continue to make progress on what has always been a bipartisan and bicameral project, I want to thank my colleagues for their support for the restoration of America's Everglades. I look forward to our continued work together to bring the River of Grass back to its former glory as the crown jewel of the national parks system.