Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
7/27/2000--Reported to Senate amended.
Restoring the Everglades, an American Legacy Act - Approves the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan contained in the "Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement" dated April 1, 1999, as modified by this Act (the Plan) as a framework for modifications and operational changes to the Central and Southern Florida Project that are needed to:
(1) restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem;
(2) provide for the protection of water quality in, and the reduction of the loss of fresh water from, the Everglades; and
(3) provide for the water-related needs of the region.
Directs the Secretary of the Army (the Secretary):
(1) in carrying out the Plan, to integrate such activities with ongoing Federal and State projects and activities;
(2) to carry out specified listed projects included in the Plan, taking into account the protection of water quality by considering applicable State water quality standards and including features necessary to ensure that all ground water and surface water discharges from any authorized project feature will meet all applicable water quality standards and applicable water quality permitting requirements; and
(3) in developing the projects authorized, to provide for public review and comment in accordance with applicable Federal law.
Sets forth provisions regarding:
(1) specified pilot projects and initial projects included in the plan that are authorized for implementation;
(2) conditions (i.e., reporting requirements, funding contingent on approval, modified water delivery, maximum costs of projects) for project implementation; and
(3) the maximum cost of authorized project features.
Sets forth provisions regarding additional program authority, authorization of future projects, the Federal cost share (50 percent), project evaluation, and exclusions and limitations from the Plan (regarding 245,000 acre-feet of water, wastewater reuse, and approval with limitations for the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the Southern Corkscrew regional ecosystem).
Directs the Secretary: (1) on completion and evaluation of the wastewater reuse pilot project, in an appropriately timed five-year report, to describe the results of the evaluation of advanced wastewater reuse in meeting, in a cost effective manner, the requirements of restoration of the natural system; and (2) to submit such report to Congress before congressional authorization for advanced wastewater reuse is sought.
States that the overarching objective of the Plan is the restoration, preservation, and protection of the South Florida Ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection.
Directs that the Plan be implemented to ensure the protection of water quality in, the reduction of the loss of fresh water from, and the improvement of the environment of, the South Florida Ecosystem and to achieve and maintain the benefits to the natural system and human environment described in the Plan and required pursuant to this Act, for as long as the project is authorized.
Prohibits any appropriation from being made for the construction of a project contained in the Plan until the President and the Governor of the State ensure, by regulation or other appropriate means, that water made available under the Plan for the restoration of the natural system is available as specified in the Plan. Authorizes any person or entity that is aggrieved by a failure of the President or the Governor to comply with any provision of the agreement to bring a civil action in U.S. district court for an injunction or other appropriate relief, subject to specified limitations.
Directs the Secretary, within two years, after notice and opportunity for public comment, and with the concurrence of and consultation with specified parties, to promulgate regulations which shall establish a process to:
(1) provide guidance for the development of project implementation reports, project cooperation agreements, and operating manuals that ensure that Plan goals and objectives are achieved;
(2) ensure that new information resulting from changed or unforeseen circumstances, new scientific or technical information or information that is developed through the principles of adaptive management contained in the Plan, or future authorized changes to the Plan are integrated into implementation of the Plan; and
(3) ensure protection of the natural system consistent with Plan goals and purposes.
Directs the Secretary and the non-Federal sponsor (subject to specified requirements) to:
(1) develop project implementation reports in accordance with the Plan;
(2) execute project cooperation agreements in accordance with the Plan; and
(3) develop and issue, for each project or group of projects, an operating manual that is consistent with the water reservation or allocation for the natural system described in the project implementation report and cooperation agreement for the project or group of projects.
Requires that the Secretary ensure that Plan implementation, including physical or operational modifications to the Central and Southern Florida Project, does not cause significant adverse impact on existing legal water users.
Prohibits the Secretary from eliminating existing legal sources of water until a new source of water supply of comparable quantity and quality is available to replace the water to be lost as a result of implementation of the Plan. Directs the Secretary to maintain authorized levels of flood protection in existence on the date of this Act's enactment.
Directs the Secretary and the Governor to develop an agreement for resolving disputes between the Corps of Engineers and the State associated with Plan implementation.
Requires that such agreement establish a mechanism for the timely and efficient resolution of disputes, including:
(1) a preference for the resolution of disputes between the Jacksonville District of the Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District;
(2) a mechanism for the Jacksonville District of the Corps of Engineers or the South Florida Water Management District to initiate dispute resolution process for unresolved issues;
(3) the establishment of appropriate time frames and intermediate steps for the elevation of disputes to the Governor and the Secretary; and
(4) a mechanism for the final resolution of disputes, within 180 days from the date that the dispute resolution process is initiated.
Prohibits the Secretary from approving a project implementation report under this Act until the agreement established herein has been executed.
Specifies that nothing in such agreement shall alter or amend any existing Federal or State law.
Directs the Secretary, the Secretary of the Interior, and the State to establish an independent scientific review panel convened by a body such as the National Academy of Sciences to review the Plan's progress toward achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Plan. Requires the panel to produce a biennial report to Congress, the Secretary, the Secretary of the Interior, and the State of Florida that includes an assessment of ecological indicators and other measures of progress in restoring the ecology of the natural system, based on the Plan.
Directs the Secretary to ensure that: (1) in executing the Plan, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are provided opportunities to participate; and (2) impacts on socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including individuals with limited English proficiency, and communities are considered during Plan implementation and that public outreach and educational opportunities are provided to individuals of South Florida.
Sets forth reporting requirements.