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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Opponents of sugar buyout hire lots of lobbyists



Lots of lobbyists are roaming the halls of the Legislature making the case against the state spending $1.34-billion to buy U.S Sugar's land for Everglades restoration, according to Audubon of FloridaCharlieannounces's Eric Draper and state Department of Environmental Protection secretary Mike Sole.

"The halls have been tense," Sole told an audience at the annual Everglades Coalition meeting in Miami today. The lobbyists are having an impact, he said, because the DEP is seeing "pushback" from some lawmakers opposing the buyout first publicly announced by Gov. Charlie Crist, above, in June.

Opponents of the state buyout, including rival buyer the Lawrence Group and sugar giant Florida Crystals, are employing "some of the strongest, most influential lobbyists in Tallahassee" to persuade lawmakers to halt the deal, Draper told the crowd. "A considerable amount of money is being spent to oppose this very good deal."

Craig Pittman, Times staff writer

(Associated Press photo)


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:12pm]


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