WASHINGTON – Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that Sen. Mitch McConnell had agreed to a key project affecting Lake Okeechobee. "Another step forward for this critical environmental project is great news for Florida," Scott said in a statement.
"The governor signed SB 10 in 2017 to accelerate this important project to alleviate the need for federal water discharges that cause damaging blue green algal blooms. After the governor signed the bill, the project required approval from the White House and the U.S. Senate," read a news release.
But Democrats blasted Scott for taking credit for a project that was already in a sweeping environmental package and pushed for by Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.
Scott's office today issued a news releasing saying he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who "committed to the Governor that approval for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir to store more water south of Lake Okeechobee will be included in the Senate's version of the upcoming American Water Infrastructure Act."
"I appreciate Senator McConnell's commitment to moving this project forward to help reduce blue-green algal blooms," Scott said. "I have fought for this project and our communities impacted by algal blooms for years, and now we must focus on getting the federal government to fully fund their fair share of the reservoir and Everglades restoration."
Scott has raised the project before, including in-person with McConnell last week in Washington. But the impression that he won approval drew a strong rebuttal from Democrats and Nelson, who has worked with Rubio, and faces a tough re-election challenge from the Republican governor.
"What is needed is for Sen. McConnell to bring the WRDA bill up for a vote," Nelson's office said.