Friday, December 23, 2011

President Obama signs legislation authorizing Everglades Skyway

Sierra Club says “Let the water flow!”
Applauds Congress and President for Green-lighting the Everglades Skyway

     Debbie Matthews, Chair of the Sierra Club Miami Group 

(Friday, December 23, 2011) -- Today President Barack Obama signed Congressional authorization within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Omnibus), H.R. 2055, to bridge 5.5 miles of Tamiami Trail (U.S. highway 41) to restore fresh water flow through America’s Everglades and into Florida Bay. The new bridges will join a one-mile bridge already under construction.

The Everglades Skyway, a term coined to describe the 6.5 miles of bridges along Tamiami Trail, is now supported by Congress, the President of the United States, and a strong coalition of Florida municipalities, civic and business organizations.

Besides restoring Everglades water flow, the project will create thousands of jobs, increase tourism and help to protect South Florida from the ravages of climate change. The cumulative 6.5-mile Skyway will also serve as a visible symbol of Everglades restoration.

Jonathan Ullman, South Florida/Everglades Senior Representative, Sierra Club:

The thousands of activists and allies who have brought us to this day must be commended. Additional thanks go Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Congressional Representatives Bill Young (R-Seminole) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fort Lauderdale), and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson who supported this noble endeavor. (See Senator Nelson’s letter of support here.)

Our challenge however is not yet complete. Now that the project has Congressional authorization, it must also receive funding by Congress before construction can begin.

Nonethess, today is an historic day. After 83 years, Congress has moved to restore flow across the Tamiami Trail.

Today is the  kind of day that Ernest Coe, the Father of Everglades National Park and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of the River of Grass, would hold a toast!

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