Nelson: 'Start turning dirt' on Everglades
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson promised a crowd of environmental advocates Friday to push Congress and the Obama Administration to do a better job on Everglades restoration than the federal government has done over the past eight years. He said he has already talked to Obama environmental adviser Carol Browner, a Miami native.
"It's time to start turning some dirt," Nelson told a luncheon crowd gathered for the annual Everglades Coalition conference in Miami.
Nelson is trying to get money for the stalled Everglades project included with the economic stimulus package, since it involves construction work and could create thousands of jobs, but said in an interview that it's too soon to tell whether that will occur.
Since the multibillion-dollar restoration project was first launched in December 2000, Nelson said, "almost 3,000 days have passed," and instead of seeing progress on reviving the River of Grass the nation has seen "too many disappointments."
While Browner is quite familiar with the Everglades, Nelson said he wants to get Obama's pick for the Department of Interior, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, to go for an airboat ride in the River of Grass.
"I want to intrigue him with the possibility of wrassling an alligator," Nelson said.
Craig Pittman, Times staff writer