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Rethinking Everglades restoration

By Staff | Jan 28, 2020

To the editor:

It is not a secret that in Florida, our environment is our economy and is for this reason that after the red tide and algae blooms ecological disaster in 2018, Floridians and elected officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis have done all in their power to tackle this crisis. The governor is seeking recurring funding of $625 million and the Florida Senate $2.5 billion to address water quality. Much progress has been made; however, taking climate change out of the equation compromises all these efforts and the money spent. Wetlands are critical to maintaining water quality and Stormwater Treatment Areas or STAs (constructed wetlands divided into flow-through treatment cells that remove nutrients from agricultural and urban runoff water) are an essential part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and higher temperatures are already making peat soil collapse in the Everglades.

Moreover, the Everglades Restoration Project restores the water flow to the south, and sea level rising is pushing back, causing significant uncertainty in the fate of Everglades coastal wetlands and water management. With all these facts at play in the Everglades Restoration is crucial that in our efforts to adapt to a changing climate, we also mitigate these detrimental factors. Enacting legislation such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) is fundamental to the success in solving our water quality issues. This legislation introduces a fair market for renewables and will reduce our carbon emission by 40 percent in 12 years while adding 2.1 million new jobs in 10 years. It will prevent 60,000 premature deaths a year and will move us toward a clean energy economy. The best part is every American will receive a carbon dividend check each month.

Solemi Hernandez