From our pristine beaches to the wonders of the Everglades, Florida is home to some of the greatest natural treasures in the world. And I want our children and grandchildren to grow up with clean air, clean water and a strong appreciation for the world around them. That's why I have been a strong supporter of legislation that protects our fragile environment.
Some of my work on environmental issues includes:
* Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): WRDA authorizes funding for water infrastructure projects, such as beach renourishment, waterway dredging and sewer connects (several of which are in Southwest Florida), and was signed into law in 2007. The next step is to ensure that funds are appropriated for these vital projects.
* Everglades Restoration: Protecting and restoring the Everglades is important for the overall health of South Florida's environment, our economy, and our quality of life. While state and local entities have made a strong commitment to the protecting the Everglades, the federal government must do more to protect and restore this national treasure. That's why I have been a strong advocate for cleaning up Lake Okeechobee and ensuring adequate protection for the dike.
* Caloosahatchee River: The Caloosahatchee River is a vital waterway for the Everglades and serves as a barometer for the overall health of the ecosystem. Unfortunately, nutrients from the Kissimmee River Basin and Lake Okeechobee have flowed down through the Caloosahatchee River, causing several environmental problems. In 2007, I introduced the "Restoring the Caloosahatchee River: A Legacy for Florida Act" (H.R. 1816), which will add a water quality component to the C-43 reservoir project through the construction of conservation areas like marshes that can naturally filter nutrients from the water, helping to improve the health of the river and the estuaries.
* Red Tide: For too long, our shores have been plagued by this nuisance, which has long-lasting economic, environmental, and health implications for the region. I introduced the Save Our Shores Act (H.R. 1091), which authorizes $90 million over a three-year period for peer-reviewed, scientific research on red tide and other harmful algal blooms. My legislation would also require a task force, comprised of scientists from various federal agencies, to report the results of this research annually to Congress. While substantive red tide research is being performed all over the country, federal funding has not been distributed on a consistent basis every year. My legislation will ensure that scientists, and not politicians, decide where the funding goes.
* Funding for Southwest Florida Environmental Projects: In 2007, I successfully secured funding for several environmental projects in Southwest Florida. These projects include maintenance dredging in the Gordon River Pass and several areas of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (Miserable Mile in Lee County and the Boca Grande Bayou area) and beach renourishment on Gasparilla Island.
With common-sense policies, we can and will keep our environment healthy for our children and grandchildren.