THE WATER RESOURCES REFORM AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 149
(House of Representatives - October 23, 2013)

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[Pages H6687-H6688]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Murphy) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor today to 
submit for the Record a summary of the transcript of the bipartisan 
briefing I recently hosted along with my good friend from the great 
State of Florida, Trey Radel, on the crucial environmental issues 
facing our waterways in Florida. During a time of the most discouraging 
examples of partisan gridlock, we were able to come together with many 
people on both sides of the aisle to work toward solutions to the 
ongoing crisis in our waterways.
  There is no denying that an environmental crisis is taking place up 
and down the Indian River Lagoon. Record-breaking rainfall, out-of-date 
engineering, and urban and agricultural runoff are all damaging our 
waterways. To bring attention to this important matter, we invited 
community members who have been directly impacted by the water so 
polluted with bacteria and toxic algae that health officials told 
people to avoid contact with the water. In an area where the economy 
depends on water for our local livelihood, this pollution is having 
devastating effects.
  Members of our community took great lengths to make their voices 
heard in Congress. Many flew up here, others fundraised to take a bus, 
using money out of their own pocket to make sure that Washington heard 
how they have been directly impacted by polluted and toxic waterways.
  Despite the government shutdown and the inability of any Federal 
agency officials to attend, we were pleased to see so many engaged 
constituents in the room with us as we spoke to many Members who have 
important leadership roles in the House itself--the Appropriations 
Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and many 
among the Florida delegation.
  At the briefing, we not only discussed the problems but the 
solutions, both short-term and long-term, that can only come from a 
mutual understanding of the problem and cooperation of local, State, 
and Federal entities. Solutions such as completing Everglades 
restoration projects like the Indian River Lagoon-South project and 
funding the completion of C-44 components of this project as soon as 
possible to grant relief to the already battered St. Lucie Estuary are 
critical. We must also fight for quick and effective repairs to the 
Herbert Hoover Dike that will allow for the safe retention of more 
water in Lake Okeechobee.
  There was also broad agreement on the importance of passing WRRDA so 
we can move forward with Everglades restoration efforts that will 
benefit all of our communities. Additionally, WRRDA will streamline 
processes so ongoing and future projects can advance more efficiently 
and expeditiously.

[[Page H6688]]

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  It has been almost 7 years since the last water resource bill was 
authorized, stalling progress on local environmental projects, so I am 
beyond pleased to see the House take up this important bill today.
  After passing WRRDA, we need to continue to pressure for the chief 
support for the Central Everglades Planning Project so that these 
important projects can move forward as well. In the current no-spending 
climate in Congress, it is difficult to fight for funding for these 
critical projects to address the pollution impacting our local 
waterways, but there is a difference between smart investments and 
wasteful spending, which is something I have been working hard to 
tackle these past 10 months.
  Infrastructure and environmental projects are not only crucial to 
improve the health of our waterways but to provide a 3 to 1 return on 
investment. Furthermore, funding for Everglades projects is equally 
matched by the State so they, too, have skin in the game, highlighting 
the importance of cooperation across all levels of government to work 
towards real solutions to address the challenges facing our waterways.
  Mr. Speaker, these issues are simply too important to ignore. That is 
why I am here today with this bottle of polluted water behind me to 
show the severity of this ongoing crisis. I remain focused on this 
issue of great concern to our community, our environment, our economy, 
and our entire way of life. No one person can make all these things 
happen. It takes advocacy and action at all levels of government. To 
that end, I will include a summary of this briefing to be entered into 
the Congressional Record to educate all Members of Congress on this 
important issue and the role we all play in addressing it.