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Senator Nelson Introduces His Everglades Bill in Congress

Here are Senator Nelson's remarks on the Senate floor on Monday:

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A group of bi-partisan Florida lawmakers in both the U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation today to expedite Everglade’s restoration projects.

It comes just days after the US Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

The legislation led by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Reps. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) would automatically authorize any Everglades restoration project the Army Corps deems ready to begin in the next five years.

Nelson spoke about the reason for the bill on the Senate floor Monday.  

“So that impossible decisions that face the Corps of Engineers, like right now, that either they threaten the dam and hold it back or they release the polluted water and kill the rivers; it's not a good choice that the corps has to make,” said Nelson. “It's certainly not a good choice for our environment and all the people that live in the surrounding area. And so, Everglades’ restoration must move forward aggressively and without delay.”

The Army Corps of Engineers began discharging water from Lake Okeechobee Saturday to prevent the lake's dike from failing.

The South Florida Water Management District started pumping polluted water out of farmland into the lake last week. The district says the practice, known as back pumping, is needed to protect farms and communities south of the lake.