Congressman Francis Rooney Statement on Final Passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)
Washington, D.C.- Yesterday, Congressman Rooney voted to support the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA). WRDA is the authorizing legislation that allows the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct projects improving water infrastructure - the most critical component of Everglades restoration and completion of the necessary repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike, which surrounds Lake Okeechobee. Today’s vote marks the final passage of WRDA – it will now be sent to the President for his signature.
Congressman Rooney stated, “Passage of WRDA is an important step in finally advancing the 68 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects that have been previously approved. Among the critical components, it authorizes the EAA Reservoir, allowing for movement of water south from Lake Okeechobee, and it speeds review of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). This review is necessary so that LORS can be adjusted to provide more water during the winter months, when our estuaries need it, and less during the summer months when releases damage our ecosystem. These projects will significantly reduce discharges to the Caloosahatchee and improve SWFL water quality. Over the last 18 months we have secured more funding for building WRDA authorized projects than at any time in the last decade. I will continue to fight for the resources we need to fix our water.”
Joined with $206 million recently appropriated by the House, a total of $610 million will be set aside to complete the Herbert Hoover Dike repairs by 2022 instead of the end of the decade. Every year saved completing these repairs is a year that harmful releases into our ecosystem will stop sooner. Congressman Rooney has successfully fought for funding to complete CERP projects, united the Florida delegation and personally brought House leadership to Southwest Florida to see the watershed first hand. Now we are seeing results here, as well - a record $115 million set aside for CERP in the FY2019 budget. In total, nearly $900 million has been appropriated for dike repairs and CERP projects in FY 2018 and FY 2019.
Congressman Rooney has previously welcomed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment Ken Calvert, on visits to the Everglades. In addition, Congressman Rooney has sent a letter to President Trump, co-signed by every member of the Florida Congressional delegation, that called on the President to support Everglades Restoration projects in his fiscal year 2018 Budget. He has also authored a letter to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Committee requesting funding for Everglades projects. Congressman Rooney is a member of the Everglades Caucus and the Estuary Caucus.