Rooney Meets with Army Corps to Discuss Lake Okeechobee Water Releases and Status of CERP Projects

Today, Congressman Francis Rooney met with Colonel Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to receive an update on CERP projects scheduled for construction, and to discuss the critical issues relating to Lake Okeechobee water levels.

Congressman Rooney stated, “To date, the water level in Lake Okeechobee is at 11.2ft, which is a vast improvement over this time in 2018. We are entering our rainy season well positioned to minimize discharges into the Caloosahatchee and ultimately the Gulf. Additionally, the USACE has made clear their commitment to complete as many CERP projects as possible with the $200 million in funding that I requested that the President include in his amended budget. This funding will also allow for planning and design of the EAA reservoir. I appreciate the effort that the Jacksonville District has applied to reducing discharges from the lake and expediting Everglades restoration projects.”

Background:

  • In February, Congressman Rooney met with Major General Scott A. Spellmon, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations for the Army Corps of Engineers, about funding for Lake Okeechobee and Everglades Restoration projects. At that time, they also discussed lake levels and their importance to SWFL water quality.
  • Congressman Rooney has successfully fought for funding to complete Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects, united the Florida delegation and personally brought House leadership to Southwest Florida to see the watershed first hand. These efforts have led to nearly $1.1 billion being appropriated for dike repairs and CERP projects in FY 2018 and FY 2019.
  • In April, Congressman Rooney led a letter to the President requesting $200 million for Everglades restoration in the Administration’s FY 2020 budget. The Administration has met this request.
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