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Everglades foe says Rubio convinced him to back $1.9 billion plan


The next best hope for Florida's ailing Everglades may be a senator from Oklahoma who doesn't believe in climate change.

This week, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Miami Herald that fellow Sen. Marco Rubio had convinced him to back a suite of Everglades restoration projects expected to cost about $1.9 billion and aimed at stopping the kind of crisis that gripped South Florida over the winter when an El Niño dropped record rain.Inhofe, the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000.

“Marco showed me this was different. And I wouldn’t have gotten into it if Marco hadn’t talked to me,” he said. “When Marco said one out of three Floridians are affected, I thought that wasn’t right.”

Coming just days before the Florida primary with Rubio trailing Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, the news could help Rubio’s standing on the environment. Rubio has supported Everglades restoration work, but in his bid for president has given little priority to climate change and dire sea rise projections expected to dramatically change the shores and waters of his home state over the next century. Restoring the Everglades won’t stop sea rise, but scientists say it could help the state stay dryer longer.

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