The Honorable Jeb Bush
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
As the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, I am writing to express my grave concern about the Florida legislation to amend the 1994 Everglades Forever Act. This legislation, if enacted, jeopardizes the pathbreaking state-federal partnership at the heart of the Everglades restoration.
As you are aware, the federal taxpayers are paying half the cost of Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) partly because there are vital federal resources at stake, including three national parks, a national preserve, five national wildlife refuges and the nation's most-visited national marine sanctuary. The bill and the associated "long term water quality plan" will undermine the state's promise to provide clean water under the Everglades Forever Act and the fundamental premise underlying CERP as codified in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000.
The federal investment in the Everglades is predicated on scientifically based restoration of the ecosystem and the understanding that restoration cannot succeed without cleaner water. The April 29 joint statement by Congressmen Young, Regula, Hobson, Taylor, Shaw and Goss exemplifies how serious a threat this bill is to continued federal funding. I urge you to veto this bill and preserve the state-federal partnership that is vital to the restoration of the Everglades.
I thank you for your consideration.
John F. Kerry