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Water Resources Development Act Could Be A Big Victory For South Florida

A planned expansion of Port Everglades is intended to accommodate large cargo ships coming to South Florida through the recently expanded Panama Canal.
Wilfredo Lee
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act on Wednesday -- and that could be a dual victory for South Florida. The act authorizes the Central Everglades Planning Project, which is slated to provide about $2 billion dollars for various ecosystem restoration efforts. And, it supports a $320 million dollar Port Everglades expansion that’s intended to help larger, heavier ships navigate the area.

 

Josh Rogin is chief of staff for Congressman Ted Deutch, who represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. He says Deutch is optimistic that the central Everglades project money will help restore the natural flow of water through the area -- alleviating some of the algae problems that have plagued South Florida this year. And, he says, the benefits of the Water Resources Development Act are economic as well as environmental.

 

"We’ve been waiting almost two decades to get federal money for the port, and that’s so important," Rogin said. "The more we can import into Port Everglades, the better it is for local businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties."

 

Rogin says the port expansion could create 2000 jobs. It's been controversial, though, because of concerns that dredging could harm corals. In August, four groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers over the expansion project.

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Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.