Our natural wonders must be protected for the benefit of current and future generations of Floridians.
Here in South Florida, we know the intrinsic value of our environment, both locally and nationally. I will continue to make it my mission to protect our delicate and valuable ecosystems so that current and future generations are able to enjoy one of the most ecologically diverse and scenic areas of our great country. My district is the proud home of Biscayne National Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, with substantial responsibility for protecting many rare and endangered species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the United States.
I work diligently to make sure that the federal government is a strong partner on environmental issues to our State and local governments, and our whole community. With my help, our community has had great collaborative successes in protecting and restoring our waterways over the years, including the dredging of the Miami River. Removing contaminated sediment has created an environmental and economic renaissance along the riverfront and has reduced contamination in Biscayne Bay as well.
I am also supportive of other ecological improvement projects such as the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project that will bring huge benefits to native plant and animal communities along, and within, Biscayne Bay. A part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, this project is also vital for stopping and reversing decades of saltwater intrusion that threatens our drinking water wells in southern Miami-Dade County, ensuring our children and grandchildren safe and reliable sources of drinking water.
Further offshore, I remain a strong supporter of legislation to restore our precious coral reefs, to study and combat local climate change impacts like ocean acidification and rising sea levels, and to prevent seismic air gun blasting and oil drilling anywhere off the coast of Florida. While we are just beginning to understand how vulnerable our community may be to the significant impacts of climate change, it is all too well known that offshore oil drilling poses an intolerable threat to the beautiful, natural ecosystems that define our community and buttress our economy. I continue to be a staunch opponent of the oil drilling proposed off of Cuba’s northern coast, and have led the fight to impose sanctions and other penalties on individuals and entities involved in Cuba’s oil-drilling operations.
Of course, our tropical paradise is also world-renowned for its beaches. What the many millions of tourists that visit South Florida may not know is that our beaches act as a natural defense from wind and flood damage caused by tropical storms and hurricanes. The environmental, economic, and safety benefits of our beaches cannot be overstated. As sea levels continue to rise along our community’s eastern flank, effective and efficient beach renourishment projects will become ever more important as one aspect of a comprehensive sea level rise mitigation and adaptation strategy.
Our community and economy are intimately tied to the environmental integrity of our beaches, coral reefs, and wetland ecosystems. In Congress, I am focused on protecting our public lands and waters, restoring critical habitats in our region, and developing long term and bipartisan strategies to help transform South Florida into a global leader and model community for climate resilience, mitigation, and adaptation.