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NYT calls Crist plan 'a good deal for the Everglades'

The New York Times, which recently published a front-page story that was highly critical of Gov. Charlie Crist's land deal with U.S. Sugar -- to the delight of U.S. Senate rival Marco Rubio -- makes nice in an editorial today:

The effort to restore Florida's Everglades has been revived thanks to the efforts of President Obama and Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist. The Obama administration has committed more than $300 million in new money, and construction on important projects including lifting a section of the Tamiami Trail to bring freshwater to the Everglades is under way. Last week, the state agency that oversees the restoration voted unanimously to press forward with Mr. Crist's controversial but potentially game-changing $536 million deal to buy 73,000 acres of land from the United States Sugar Corporation. The land would eventually be taken out of agricultural production, removing a major source of pollution, and converted into reservoirs and artificial marshes to store and clean water for later release into the Everglades during the dry season. The agency, the South Florida Water Management District, had been under mounting pressure to kill the deal. Florida Crystals, another big and politically connected sugar company, lobbied ferociously against the deal with its rival. Some environmentalists complained that Mr. Crist paid too much and that the cost of the deal would crowd out other restoration projects. But some of those projects -- a string of underground storage wells, for instance -- made little sense to begin with and none are as important as the land deal. The payout to United States Sugar and some other aspects of the deal seem excessive. But the agency can negotiate the price downward or cancel the arrangement if United States Sugar refuses to bargain or if the economy keeps tanking and the deal becomes unaffordable. What the taxpayers need to remember is that this is a very good deal for the environment. Without an ample supply of clean, fresh water, the Everglades will never be restored to anything approaching their former vitality. There is no shortage of rainfall in Florida. What's in short supply is places to store it during the rainy season when Lake Okeechobee overflows, places from which the water can be released when it is needed during the dry season to nourish wildlife, prevent catastrophic fire and provide clean water to Florida Bay. Far more will have to happen to restore the water flows that once sustained the Everglades. But the United States Sugar lands are a critically important first step. 

Comments

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BHarrison

If you believe this blatant propaganda, then I would suggest that you are either niave or just palin stupid ... and perhaps both. The sgar industry parties have become wealthy, some even ULTRA WEALTHY, and they have a tremendous amount of political influence and power. There is NO rational basis for this "deal" that enriches these parties even more, allows them to use the land for another SEVEN YEARS, and foists the costs of the environmental cleanup onto the taxpayers. The sugar industry is responsible for the pollution; and they have the wealth to clean up the pollution that they caused; but they don't want to pay that price ... so they have gotten their political cronnies to come up with a "sweet heart deal" that substantially further enriches them and foists the costs of cleanup onto the tax payers. I don't think that, given all of the facts, this is "corruption personified". The audacity of it all is staggering. The courts should simply enforce the requirement that these parties clean up the pollutin that they created.

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