A little over a week after the South Florida Water Management District published a revised “Sugar Deal,” Gov. Charlie Crist is voicing his thanks for the contract, which will likely lessen the impact of heavy fertilizers on Florida’s Everglades. In a Thursday press release, Crist made a statement regarding the modified contract, which proposes $197 million for about 26,800 acres (along with an option to buy the remaining land at $7,400 per acre):
I am grateful to the members of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board for their unanimous vote and unwavering commitment to Everglades restoration and fiscal responsibility. ‘The longest journey begins with a single step’ (Lao-tzu) and the state recognizes the monumental restoration advances we can make with this land. We are pursuing the acquisition with the fiscal responsibility expected of Florida’s leaders and stewards of the environment. This acreage will provide important opportunities for water storage and treatment and better revive, restore and preserve one of America’s greatest natural treasures – the Everglades.
The Sugar Deal originally began as a would-be $1.75 billion purchase of 187,000 acres of land belonging to the United States Sugar Corporation. Two years later, the deal has been steeped in controversy and economic delays, but is still a much-needed step toward healing the Everglades, which was recently added to the World Heritage in Danger list by UNESCO.