Years ago, before I came to Congress, the federal government made a promise to share the costs associated with restoring our Everglades and building reservoir storage that would control runoff from Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
As is the case with most government programs, this was not carried out on time and cost too much, ultimately leading to a massive stream of dirty water being dumped into the Gulf and Atlantic every time we have higher than average summer rainfall. This briny water harms our local ecosystem and turns our beautiful blue beaches brown.
Last month, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which I am a proud member, passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). Why is this important? This bill makes sure the government delivers on the promises made to our state to find a solution for these damaging freshwater releases while also returning power to our local governments.
This WRRDA Bill is also monumental in a few other ways. It contains zero earmarks, is the most conservative water resources bill ever put before Congress and has strong bipartisan support. For comparison, the last bill like this passed in 2007 and cost more than $30 billion, while WRRDA will save $2 billion.
To bring light to these issues, this month, I hosted a bi-partisan briefing with Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Palm Beach). This briefing brought local and state leaders to Washington, to show my colleagues in Congress how important ending these releases and passing WRRDA is to Southwest Florida.
Cleaning up our water is not a partisan issue, it is a Florida issue. That’s why I am fighting for clean water and a healthy local environment and economy. We need to start solving Florida’s problems, Florida’s way, by getting Washington, D.C., out of Southwest Florida’s water.
U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, represents the
19th Congressional District which includes all of Lee
County and parts of Collier County