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Singer Buffett cheers Chiles on environment

Singer Jimmy Buffett newest recording is a television commercial for Gov. Lawton Chiles, lauding the Democrat's environmental record.

Buffett also drafted a letter last week supporting Chiles that the campaign is mailing to targeted voters. It's going to nearly 200,000 people who pay the extra $15 the state charges for a "Save the Manatees" license plate.

"For years I've been involved with thousands of fellow Floridians working to protect and preserve what is left of our priceless resources," Buffett's letter and commercial say. "I know Lawton Chiles has been a friend to the environment, he sees the big picture. Jeb Bush does not."

To which Bush, a Miami Republican challenging Chiles, replies: "Jimmy ought to stick to singing."

In the final days of a heated governor's race, the Chiles campaign hasn't decided if the commercial taped last weekend at a house Buffet is remodeling will be aired. But Buffett's letters are in the mail.

Among environmental groups that offer endorsements in political races, Chiles is the favorite. The Florida League of Conservation Voters has endorsed the governor. So has the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club.

But, in general, environmentalists are upset with the governor _ especially his support of new Everglades legislation they consider soft on the sugar industry. In fact, environmentalists rallied in West Palm Beach on Saturday on the issue.

Bush has attempted to convince environmentalists that he is friendly to their cause, but advocates say he is not committed to the state's land-buying Preservation 2000 program.

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