I am committed to fighting for cleaner air and water, the preservation of our natural resources and environmental policies that provide for the fair and equal treatment of people of all races and socio-economic classes. There are no second chances to save the environment.
I will always fight for the future of our environment. The health, safety, and well being of America's children are depending on it.
Clean Oceans and Beaches
As was made clear by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, much of Florida’s economy is based on tourism related to our clean beaches and oceans. Protecting this part of our economy and environment is essential for Florida's 20th District.
I was instrumental in the drafting and enactment of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (“CERP”) in 2000 and have continued to lead efforts in Congress to secure federal funding for the implementation of the historic Everglades restoration effort. This master restoration plan is projected to create jobs for more than 442,000 individuals over the next 50 years. Restoration will add another 22,000 short to midterm jobs related to construction projects. These are real jobs and real money. Every dollar invested in the Everglades will return four dollars back to our community.
In addition to preserving this unique environment and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, the Everglades are also the source for much of South Florida’s drinking water. We have a responsibility to the Everglades, to ourselves and to our children to ensure restoration continues. We cannot allow this opportunity to restore the Everglades languish.
More than 70 percent of African Americans and Latinos, compared to only 58 percent of non-minority individuals, live in counties that regularly fail to meet current clean air standards. In these areas, a disproportionate number of citizens are suffering from cancer, asthma, toxin poisoning and other ailments related to the environment. In 2003, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment that I offered which increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental justice programs to the highest level in history. Building off that effort, I was able to subsequently increase authorization for this critical funding by as much as $7 million. I will continue to fight to ensure minority communities do not unfairly carry a disproportionate share of the environmental burden of society.