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Florida lawmakers urge deficit panel not to cut Everglades money

Calling it an "important job-creating program," a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers wrote a letter to the so-called "supercommittee" that's looking at federal budget cuts. The Floridians asked them to give careful consideration to the state-federal Everglades restoration partnership -- even in the face of "immense challenges" and competing prioirites.

The Florida lawmakers promised the restoration  project would create 22,966 short-to-midterm jobs, the lawmakers wrote. Over the next 50 years, they said, it could create as many as 442,644 jobs, according to one economic estimate. 

The letter was penned by Reps. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Miramar; Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami; David Rivera, R-Miami; Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston; and Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. It went to the co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction: Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TExas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

They called the restoration project "much-needed," and with a "demonstrable level of success." It's vital to the well-being of Florida's communities, environment and economy, the letter said. 

"Implementing the Everglades restoration program no only has ecological benefits, but would provide a boost to our economy and reduce unemployment," the lawmakers wrote.