A New TV Campaign Presses For Purchase Of US Sugar Land

Appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 22nd by Adam C. SmithEverglades advocates today launch a six-figure TV, radio and online campaign to push state leaders to use Amendment 1 water and land conservation money to buy U.S. Sugar land south of  Lake Okeechobee so more water flows to the Everglades. The campaign highlights a contract U.S. Sugar and the state signed in 2010 under Gov. Charlie Crist, a contract that will expire by the end of the legislative session unless the legislature acts. The cost of the land buy is roughly estimated at about $350-million.

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MIAMI HERALD: Why won't Florida GOP leaders talk about trips to King Ranch in Texas?

MIAMI HERALD: July 25, 2014. Written by Michael Van Sickler and Craig Pittman.

On a Friday in February 2013, Gov. Rick Scott stepped aboard a Texas-bound plane to take part in a secret ritual for Florida’s power elite.

As other politicians had done before and would do after, Scott was departing for historic King Ranch, one of North America’s premier hunting grounds. The trips, records indicate, were financed all or in part with contributions from Florida’s sugar industry, right down to the hunting licenses.

Scott won’t answer questions about his trip. After weeks of requests from the Herald/Times, his campaign staff released a one-paragraph statement on Friday saying he had gone to King Ranch “in support of his political fundraising efforts.”

Also keeping mum: state House leaders who have accepted similar trips in the past three years, ever since U.S. Sugar leased 30,000 acres at the ranch and built a hunting lodge amid its rolling hills.


SUN SENTINEL: Sugar industry accused of dodging Everglades clean-up costs

Sun Sentinel: June 15, 2014. Written by Andy Reid.

Florida taxpayers have been left shouldering most of the $2 billion Everglades water pollution cleanup cost, despite a constitutional amendment passed by nearly 70 percent of voters that calls for the sugar industry to pick up its share of the tab.

While South Florida sugar-cane growers excel at providing the sweet ingredient for everything from cakes to candy bars, polluted phosphorus-laden runoff from sugar-cane fields has damaging consequences on the Everglades.

About 62 percent of the polluting phosphorus that flows toward the Everglades comes from water draining off farmland dominated by sugar cane, according to state environmental records.

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HUFFINGTON POST: Devastating Photos Of Florida Pollution Will Fill You With Rage

HUFFINGTON POST: October 2, 2013. Video

 

On Thursday, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) will present shocking photos of polluted Florida waterways to Congress “so that Washington can see the pressing need to find real solutions to address this problem that has gone on for far too long.”

Murphy asked his constituents to send in photos of the toxic water lapping under their boats and docks, and will present the four most jaw-dropping at his October 3 briefing, which is co-hosted by Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.). 

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: U.S. Sugar land is a good deal for Florida

Tampa Bay Times: April 5, 2010. Written by Robert H. Burker Jr.

U.S. Sugar Corp. was not for sale when Gov. Charlie Crist approached us about buying out all our assets. We considered his proposal because he was the governor and our owners believed that we could play a major part in resolving the huge problems of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers, a fitting legacy for our land.

Our business competitors have attempted to characterize this acquisition as a bailout of a struggling company. That is a lie.

While our business had accumulated significant debt due to hurricanes and the multiyear construction of our state-of-the-art sugar factory, we have weathered storms like this since 1931. We prioritized spending and cut costs. Now our sugar factory is running smoothly, our refinery had record production and we have best sugar market in 30 years.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: U.S. Sugar land is a good deal for Florida

Tampa Bay Times: April 5, 2010. Written by Robert H. Buker Jr. (U.S. Sugar)

U.S. Sugar Corp. was not for sale when Gov. Charlie Crist approached us about buying out all our assets. We considered his proposal because he was the governor and our owners believed that we could play a major part in resolving the huge problems of the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers, a fitting legacy for our land.

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