Published in Tampa Bay Times on April 16: When I came to Florida to fish in 2000, I saw sparkling, blue-green water flooding into its lagoons and estuaries and roseate spoonbills roosting in mangroves. Since then dramatic changes have occurred and, as seasoned guides will tell you, there just aren't as many fish left. What happened in 15 years?Read more
Sun Sentinel: Written by Andy Reid. September 13, 2014.
Everglades restoration could get torpedoed by a sugar industry push to allow new neighborhoods and shopping centers on 43,000 acres of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee, according to environmental activists.
Dozens of environmental advocacy organizations on Thursday called for Gov. Rick Scott and the South Florida Water Management District to put the brakes on the proposed Sugar Hill development plan for sugar cane fields near Clewiston in Hendry County, not far from Palm Beach County's western boundary.
Continue reading "Big Sugar building proposal raises Everglades restoration concerns"
Appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 22nd by Adam C. Smith: Everglades 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.Read more
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: 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.
Continue reading "Sugar industry accused of dodging Everglades clean-up costs"
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.).
Continue reading "Devastating Photos of Florida Pollution Will Fill You With Rage"
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.
Continue reading "U.S Sugar land is a good deal for Florida"