Bush to discuss environmental stewardship during Everglades trip

The Bush Administration plans to visit the Florida Everglades National Park where he will outline his agenda for a federal/state/local partnership for environmental stewardship.

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2001 — The Bush Administration plans to visit the Florida Everglades National Park where he will outline his agenda for a federal/state/local partnership for environmental stewardship.

Bush's FY02 budget will provide more than $219 million for restoring the Everglades.

A partnership between the State of Florida, local communities and the federal government to restore the Everglades serves as a model for how federal conservation and environmental protection efforts can more effectively partner with states and local communities to produce results, Bush said in a statement before the trip.

Bush will highlight his National Parks Legacy Project to eliminate the maintenance backlog in the National Parks over the next five years, including projects in the Everglades that have a direct effect on the environmental health of the park ecosystem.

The Bush budget proposes the following:

* An increase of funding for Everglades restoration in the Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers by $58 million over FY01 funding levels to $219 million for FY02.

* Part of this funding will initiate the 35-year, $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), led by the Army Corps of Engineers. It includes more than 65 projects, and the costs of the restoration and future operating expenses will be shared 50-50 by the Federal government and non-Federal interests, including the State of Florida.

* Over the long-term, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan will restore approximately 2.4 million acres of the Everglades ecosystem. The Everglades restoration project has received broad, bipartisan support from Congress, the State of Florida, tribal organizations, environmental groups, local communities, the agricultural community and other key stakeholders.

* The CERP will also help to ensure that South Florida has a reliable supply of fresh water for years to come. When fully implemented, it will provide the region with an additional 1.7 billion gallons of fresh water per day -- ensuring an expanded water supply to meet the growing needs of South Florida communities and farms.

National Parks Legacy Project and Everglades National Park

On May 30, at Sequoia National Park, President Bush announced his National Parks Legacy Project to ensure that our National Parks are properly maintained and enhanced.

Over the next five years, Bush's National Parks Legacy Project will secure funding to eliminate the existing $4.9 billion maintenance backlog in the National Parks.

The FY02 budget provides $439.6 million for non-road maintenance projects -- an increase of almost 30 percent from FY01.

Included among the National Parks Legacy Project initiatives funded by the budget is more than $4 million to replace and improve a wastewater treatment plant and associated systems in the southern part of Everglades National Park.

The existing treatment plant has repeatedly failed to comply with Federal and Florida Department of Environmental regulations for sewage effluent discharge and jeopardizes the health of one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere.

Bush's budget provides new funding to allow this project to move forward and eliminate the discharge of polluted water into the Everglades.

The budget also supports the Natural Resource Challenge to improve management of the natural resources within the National Parks. This will enhance conservation efforts by focusing more resources on understanding complex ecosystems and the impact of human activities.

The President has called for fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million for FY02 -- an increase of $359.7 million over FY01 funding levels.

Half of the Land and Water Conservation Fund will go toward grants to support state and local conservation and outdoor recreation efforts, including needed land acquisition projects in the Everglades ecosystem and nationwide.

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