Memo to Interested Parties

To: Interested Parties
From: Mary Barley, Founder of Everglades Trust
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Re: Everglades Restoration, U.S. Sugar Land Buy Growing Support
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READ: Everglades land purchase a no-brainer, except in Tallahassee

Published in Tampa Tribune on 4/18/2015:  The state cut a deal with U.S. Sugar seven years ago to pay a fair-market price for 46,800 acres south of Lake Okeechobee that could be used to filter polluted water before it flows to the Everglades. It was a good deal then, and it’s a good deal today.

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READ: Scott's Chance to Fix Florida's Fouled Estuaries

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?

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SUN SENTINEL: Big Sugar building proposal raises Everglades restoration concerns

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"

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A New TV Campaign Presses For Purchase Of US Sugar Land

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.

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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.

Continue reading "Sugar industry accused of dodging Everglades clean-up costs"