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Water Resources Development Act Could Be A Big Victory For South Florida

Wilfredo Lee
AP via Miami Herald
A planned expansion of Port Everglades is intended to accommodate large cargo ships coming to South Florida through the recently expanded Panama Canal.

Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act on Wednesday -- and that could be a dual victory for South Florida. The act authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project, which is slated to provide about $2 billion dollars for various ecosystem restoration efforts. And, it supports a $320 million dollar Port Everglades expansion that’s intended to help larger, heavier ships navigate the area.


Josh Rogin is chief of staff for Congressman Ted Deutch, who represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. He says Deutch is optimistic that the central Everglades project money will help restore the natural flow of water through the area -- alleviating some of the algae problems that have plagued South Florida this year. And, he says, the benefits of the Water Resources Development Act are economic as well as environmental.


"We’ve been waiting almost two decades to get federal money for the port, and that’s so important," Rogin said. "The more we can import into Port Everglades, the better it is for local businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties."


Rogin says the port expansion could create 2000 jobs. It's been controversial, though, because of concerns that dredging could harm corals. In August, four groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers over the expansion project.