Before they hopped on airboats to buzz around the muck, Salazar, Crist, Meek and Nelson listened to a briefing on invasive species in the park. When they roared back into the parking lot near mile marker 41 on Alligator Alley, Salazar said that Obama's Everglades funding marks a new era in restoration.
"President Obama is really committed to making sure we move forward to do
anything we can to restore Everglades," he said. "You've seen that already with
the several hundred million we've committed to Everglades restoration."
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He's right that it's a start. A National Research Council report to Congress last year found that the Army Corps of Engineers had completed exactly zero of the 68 projects at the heart of President Clinton's plan to save the Glades, and that costs had grown from $7.8 billion to $10.9 billion.
The report singled out the feds for not keeping their half of the bargain and failing to pay for projects on time. Nelson in particular praised Obama's funding boost.
"We've got it turned around this year," he said. "I have to thank the secretary and the administration for taking restoration seriously."
The funding will help. Now, about that Hummer ...