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The House and Senate overwhelmingly approved a $7.8 billion project to restore the Florida Everglades and undo a half-century of human impact.

Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Florida, called the plan “the biggest environmental restoration project in the history of the world.”

Rarely does support for environmental action arrive from such a broad base of citizens; Democrats and Republicans, landowners and environmentalists, farmers and home builders.

The work to be done by the Army Corps of Engineers will take 36 years and will pull the 300-mile River of Grass back from the brink of disaster, one Florida lawmaker said. It will be funded jointly by the Federal Government and Florida.

”I have spent the better part of my life waiting for this day,” Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carol Browner said.

The Federal Government in 1949 directed the Corps of Engineers to build canals, levees and pumping stations to drain parts of the swampland for farms and residential areas. Since then almost half the Everglades has been drained.

14 federally listed endangered species rely on the Everglades’ unique resources, including the wood stork, the West Indian manatee and the American crocodile.


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