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After Failed U.S. Sugar Deal, Environmentalists Maintain Push For Land For Everglades

The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service
The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service

Facing defeat over 46,000 acres of U.S. Sugar land, environmentalists say they are still looking for ways to protect the Everglades.

They're considering other options as the Legislature prepares to reconvene next week.

The environmentalists want land south of the lake for a reservoir. They say too much water from Lake Okeechobee is damaging coastal estuaries while the Everglades are dying of thirst.

Mary Barley is leading the campaign as president of the Everglades Trust.

"Over the next several weeks our campaign will be engaging citizens to reach out to their elected officials. We will also deploy additional resources to our digital efforts and direct mail across the state."

Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida says environmentalists are working with Senate Republicans ahead of next week's special session on the state budget.

"In the upcoming legislative session we will work to get a budget allocation for the land purchase along with other Everglades projects."

A state option on the U.S. Sugar land expires in October. Environmentalists wanted state leaders to use Amendment 1 funding to buy the land.

But the South Florida Water Management District voted against it. The water district would have overseen the restoration.

U.S. Sugar has said that the land environmentalists want is not ideal for restoration.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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