Florida given more time to buy Everglade sugar lands for conservation
Water authorities in South Florida have voted to extend a contract that allows public money to be used to buy land held by the state's sugar barons in an attempt to preserve the much-pressured Everglades.
The mono-culture growing of sugar cane and its processing cause huge environmental damage to the Everglades, which also face challenges from over-development.
The original deal, brokered by state Governor Charlie Crist, allowed the state to buy back land used for growing sugar cane and halt the farming.
It received a mixed response, with political rivals accusing Crist of cronyism, as his campaign was heavily supported financially by the sugar industry.
Nevertheless, regardless of political motivation, there are undoubted environmental benefits.
This week the South Florida Water Management District voted to extend the scheme, which was due to have expired, to the end of September.
“Today marks another significant step in the journey to truly save Florida’s Everglades,” Said Gov Crist.
“I applaud the courage of the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District for standing firm and acting in Florida’s best interest.
“Their unanimous vote to extend the contract has set us on a course that will change the history of Florida for the better. I thank the members for recognizing the enormous restoration potential this acquisition represents, and for their commitment to doing so without raising taxes.
“Every Floridian of this generation and future generations will benefit from restoring the natural flow of the River of Grass.”