Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist's grand Everglades deal under assault

WEST PALM BEACH — Gov. Charlie Crist's grand plan to revive the dying Florida Everglades by buying back the land, a key part of his legacy, could be on the cusp of collapsing and dealing another blow to his Senate hopes.

A panel that oversees Everglades restoration is set to decide today whether to kill the state's proposed $536 million deal to buy 73,000 acres from U.S. Sugar Corp. The proposal, much trumpeted by Crist, has already been cut by more than half from the initial plan announced in 2008, which was $1.75 billion for about 180,000 acres and the company's assets.

While the board is likely to vote to keep the plan alive for now, the shaky proposal has been hammered by some.

Critics have questioned Crist's motives, claiming they're more politics than preservation. They contend, among other things, the cost has been inflated by U.S. Sugar executives hoping to pad their pockets, knowing the governor wants the land regardless. They say it will stall other key projects because the state won't have any money left to construct the reservoirs and water treatment marshes needed for restoration, making the entire proposal a boondoggle.

"I think he's killing restoration virtually forever," said Dexter Lehtinen, an attorney for the Miccosukee Indians, who live in the Everglades and are fighting the land deal in court alongside Florida Crystals, U.S. Sugar's main rival.

They seek to stop financing for bonds the state wants to issue to pay for the deal. Florida Crystals has also argued the deal will give an unfair business advantage to its competitor, because U.S. Sugar can lease back the land at a nominal rate for a number of years until projects are under way.

Crist's grand Everglades deal under assault 03/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]
  2. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  3. Clearwater man dies after diving from boat into shallow waters

    Public Safety

    A 49-year-old man died after he jumped off a pontoon boat into shallow waters Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    The Features Gastropub is located inside the Riverview 14 GDX theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  5. JFK's last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht

    Nation

    It has been 100 years since John F. Kennedy's birth on May 29, 1917, at his parents' home in Brookline, Mass., just outside Boston. Over the course of his life, Kennedy enjoyed lavish birthday celebrations, the most famous being a Democratic fundraising bash at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, when a sequined …

    President John F. Kennedy aboard the Sequoia in 1963 opening birthday presents. [Robert Knudsen | John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum]