For Immediate Release Wednesday, August 8, 2018
The Everglades Foundation Asks McConnell to Schedule Reservoir Vote “Florida is Being Ravaged by a Perennial Algae Crisis,” Eikenberg Asserts; “We Cannot Afford to Wait any Longer”
Fort Myers, Fla. – The Everglades Foundation today released a letter it sent this morning to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging him to schedule a vote on the Everglades Reservoir when the Senate reconvenes for legislative business on August 15.
“There is no other way to say this,” asserted Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg in the letter. “Florida is being ravaged by a perennial algae crisis that is destroying our beaches, fisheries, tourism and real estate industries, and we are desperate.”
The letter seeks a Senate vote on S. 2800, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which includes the biennial Water Resources Development Act. The measure seeks authorization of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, also known as the “Everglades Reservoir.”
The project will accommodate 240,000 acres of dynamic water storage, Eikenberg noted today, cleaning and moving an average of 370,000 acre-feet per year of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades and Florida Bay, significantly reducing Lake Okeechobee discharges, which are the cause of the current algae crisis.
In his letter, Eikenberg reminded McConnell that 18 years ago, as a first-term Senator, he helped enact the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, “a prominent and critical component of which” was the Everglades Reservoir.
Following “nearly two decades of finger pointing and foot-dragging at both the federal and state levels,” Eikenberg asserted, “we are on the threshold of finally moving this desperately needed project forward.”
Following the 2016 algae outbreaks, he said, “tens of thousands of Floridians made their voices heard in Tallahassee to demand action,” resulting in passage of Senate Bill 10, which funded the state’s 50 percent share of the cost and expedited planning for the project by the South Florida Water Management District.
“Now,” Eikenberg concluded, “it is Washington’s turn.”
“On behalf of Florida’s 20 million citizens and the countless millions of other Americans – many of them from Kentucky — who visit or call our state a second home, I implore you to save Florida from its perennial algae crises. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”
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