Today Vice President Joe Biden was in South Florida to tour a portion of Everglades National Park and talk about the Administration's plans for funding restoration projects. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
"I am pleased Vice President Biden is touring the Everglades today to underscore the Administration's ongoing commitment to restoring the River of Grass. Everglades restoration has been a bipartisan, state-federal partnership for more than a decade, and returning the Everglades to a more natural state will have broad positive benefits for Florida's economy and natural resources.
"While progress over the years has been uneven, since 2008 we've seen a dramatic increase in federal resources as well as the commencement of several major federal projects -- from construction on a Tamiami Trail bridge, to improving the ecosystem at Picayune Strand and the Indian River Lagoon. It is important that Congress maintain the momentum of the last few years by fully funding the Administration's restoration priorities as laid out in the President's 2013 budget. Unfortunately, House Republicans have slashed $7 million out of the President's restoration funding request, but I am optimistic that working together with the Senate, we can restore funding to continue our restoration efforts.
"Restoration of the Everglades has significant environmental and economic benefits for Florida. In addition to the seven million Floridians who rely on the Everglades for their primary source of drinking water, a study conducted for the Everglades Foundation showed that for every dollar invested in Everglades restoration, $4 are generated in economic benefits. This means that $11.5 billion invested in Everglades restoration would result in $46.5 billion in gains to Florida's economy and create more than 440,000 jobs over the next 50 years, by spurring construction and tourism activity.
"We are fortunate to have one of the world's great wonders right here in South Florida, and restoring the Everglades serves as a reminder that we must leave this world better than we found it so that future generations can enjoy it too."