Island News, George Bush Tours the Everglades
(L-R) US President
George W. Bush, Park Superintendent Maureen Finnerty, Deputy
Superintendent Larry Belli and Florida Governor Jeb Bush tour
a reclamation area of Everglades National Park. President Bush
said today that his budget for 2002 will provide more than 219
million dollars for restoring the Everglades.
The Republican president, who is
tending his image as both environmentalist and bipartisan,
pledged to state activists gathered canalside that he would
not abandon the massive, 40-year ecosystem restoration under
``Our job here is to be good stewards
of the Everglades, to restore what has been damaged and to
reduce the risk of harm,'' said Bush, whose budget for 2002
proposes $219 million for the Everglades project, a
$58-million increase over current funding.
``The work that needs to be done (by
Bush) is not just between Democrats and Republicans but within
the Republican caucus,'' said Florida's Sen. Bob Graham, a
Democrat, who traveled with Bush deep into the Everglades'
Graham and Bill Nelson, Florida's
other Democratic U.S. senator, both applauded Bush for his
unequivocal statement of support Monday for Everglades
restoration. But Nelson said it didn't quite jibe with Bush's
call to open some waters off the Florida coast for oil
``It's a mentality of drilling our
way out of the energy crisis,'' Nelson told reporters, shaking
Some two miles away from where the
Bushes staged their Everglades announcement, dozens of
demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as ``Bush oil
and our water don't mix'' and ``It's the environment,
Others were dressed as oil barrels to
greet the presidential motorcade.
There also were Bush supporters who
brandished signs saying ``Sportsmen for President Bush'' and
``George W. & Jeb, thanx for Everglades restoration.''