Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott traveled to Washington, D.C., to confirm the state would be continuing its efforts to restore the Everglades National Park.
According to a press release from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Scott, FLDEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and South Florida Water Management Executive Director Melissa Meeker met with federal officials on Oct. 6.
“Today, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to ask our federal and state Everglades restoration partners to agree on a strategy that puts the ecosystem first and prevents costly, ongoing litigation from derailing our mutual progress toward restoration,” Scott said.
In the meeting with U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Secretary of Civil Works Jo Ellen Darcy and U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Ignacia Moreno, the state leaders discussed the “long-standing commitment” to “restore America’s Everglades.”
Scott also talked about creating a “strong Florida partnership” to improve water quality and the delivery of cleaner water to the southern regions’ ecosystem. He said the strategy would protect jobs and Florida’s economy.
The strategy of building a partnership includes the DEP and SFWMD working closely together to ensure the goals of restoration are being completed.
The organizations plan to focus on promoting the quality and quantity of water that flows into and through the Everglades while saving taxpayer dollars. Michael Grunwald, author of “The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise,” discussed the statewide debate.
“For decades, Florida has been trying to wriggle out of its legal responsibilities to protect the Everglades from dirty water,” Grunwald said. “That’s why the federal government sued Florida in 1989, and that’s why there’s a consent decree requiring Florida to comply with the Clean Water Act.”
Joyce Harold, a physical education student, said restoring and protecting the Everglades is a great idea.
“This is a great step forward for the restoration of America’s Everglades,” Harold said. “I like to participate in many outside activities and value the use of our outdoor resources.”