November 12th, 2008
09:33 AM ET
14 years ago

Florida governor announces terms of Everglades deal

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Crist and McCain appeared in the Everglades the campaign this summer."] MIAMI (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today announced the final terms of a deal with the U.S. Sugar Corporation that would give the state control of more than 180,000 acres of the Florida Everglades, and allow the company to remain in business.

Crist’s announcement of an $1.34 billion agreement to purchase of almost 300 square miles of land, which comes after months of negotiations, is billed as one of the largest environmental acquisitions in U.S. history.

The original terms of the deal would have resulted in the eventual closure of U.S. Sugar, but the new agreement — which lets the company retain much of its infrastructure, and continue to operate on its current land for several more years - may allow it to transition to new industries and preserve some local jobs.

Critics of the deal note that this purchase comes at a time that the state of Florida faces a budget shortfall, its already-precarious economic situation worsened by the nation’s financial crisis, which may limit its ability to raise the money to pay for the deal. If U.S. Sugar is not able to effectively re-focus its core business, the loss of the sugar industry could affect thousands of Florida workers. And the logistical challenge of restoring the Everglades remains a daunting one.

But the Everglades purchase has drawn praise from environmentalists – the same environmentalists who criticized Crist’s decision to support lifting the federal moratorium on drilling for oil off of the Florida coast. Scientists have called the land some of the most valuable in the Everglades, which they estimate has shrunk by half over the past hundred years.

Crist’s announcement comes as GOP governors gather in Miami to discuss how to rebuild the Republican Party.

Filed under: Charlie Crist • Florida
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Cricket

    Good show FLA. though I don't know details, it sounds as if just keeping jobs for the employees is a good thing.

    November 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. 1/20/13

    Has this been cleared through the Messiah????He may want to give some of that land away to thel ess fortunate

    November 12, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Vic

    Look for the oil drilling rigs to appear!

    November 12, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Rockford

    At this point I think anything that keeps jobs for people is a good thing.
    If it's good for the evironment as well... even better...

    Nice Job Crist

    November 12, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Janet, Arizona

    180,000 acres of the Florida Everglades. Wow. I lived in Southern Florida for 10 years, and the Everglades is a special place, filled with wildlife. So now it will be sugar instead? Doesn't anybody care about the environment any more?

    November 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Good show Charlie, saving jobs in the face of losing them across the nation...that's leadership.

    November 12, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |

    its to late, the party is dead.

    November 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. john

    civilian force helping the military when it comes to national security: "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the military]," Obama said in the speech that was largely a call to national service.
    umm, can someone please answer me as to the last american politican who uttered words like this ??? please help me out

    November 12, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Lisa M

    Yup this is a Bush.
    We got one named Mitch here in Indiana.

    November 12, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. PC from DC

    Somebody should take Paul Broun out to the Everglades and leave him there!

    November 12, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. John

    just scrap the gop and start over, oh sorry thats already happening.

    November 12, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. John

    ah yes 1/20/13 already looking ahead to our second term congrats to us dems then its michelles turn for eight years. thanks bushies for 16 years of dem greatness.

    November 12, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South


    Get over yourself and your "messiah" comments. It's blasphemous.

    November 12, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Stu-Florida

    Yea... yea... more political fodder from Crist. Those employees will need to keep their jobs just to pay for the insurance increases our "State Legislature" refuses to address. Our FLOOD insurance went up over $10k, alone! They'll also need these jobs to pay for the property taxes that haven't come down in relation to the rapidly falling values.
    Why can't we do something to attract more people here, like the incentives the surrounding states have? Many are leaving... and not coming back. I would too, if I could afford the loss on my house.
    Many more won't even consider moving here!
    Lots of sun... lots of government!

    November 12, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Rockford

    Janet, Arizona

    Did you read the article?

    November 12, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Derek

    What a great deal. The government (just about) putting a private company out of business as well as hard working sugarcane farmers. I'm so proud. The farmer gets screwed again. Another industry down the tubes. No big deal; we'll just import more sugar. We import everything else.

    November 12, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Scott NYC Independent

    My my my how republicans are spending, spending, spending – a bail out here a bail out there; all for business men who it seems should not have been in business or don't deserve to be in business if they can't compete fairly. This all started with farm subsidies and now ever failed business man is seeking welfare from "republican" politicians.

    November 12, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. george from alaska

    florida is the worst environmental nightmare in the country where the republicans have fired scientists for doing their job and simply gathering data that shows sugar and cattle interests are polluting the everglades.

    enough of this sara palin nonsense cnn! her 15 minutes are over. why are you perpetuating this scheming, backstabbing, lying, two-faced, ignorant nobody in the media? if you want her so bad then keep her in cnn land so we can be rid of her in alaska.

    November 12, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. john

    I see Obama as a dictator who has a thirst for world power that cannot be quenched.

    His socialism in America is just the beginning, but it will be the end for many.

    This man is consumed by his own ego and his own history-making election. But just making history is not enough. He'll be known eventually for other less benign achievements.

    November 12, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. chelle

    Wonderful....and about bloody time!!!

    November 12, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. mario

    It's ok for the GOP to financially support companies, keeping them from bankruptcy status so that jobs remain in Florida.....yet you wont hear them refer to this as socialism. When the DEMS what to keep people in thier homes and prevent state-wide layoffs in the car manufacturing industry...well it's SOCIALISM!!!...hmmmmmm

    November 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. BS not Maverick

    Good Job, being pragmatic and sensible like the President Elect Obama!

    November 12, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Free the vertically handicapped, evolutionary challenged, albino, lesbian, hairlipped, communist alligators!

    They have rights, too, ya know!

    November 12, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Congress Paul Broun sounds like "sour grapes." If his opinions about the President Elect are so dear to his heart–why didn't this inept individual run for President. Mother always told me that the "empty barrel" makes the most noise. Someone needs to put a political muzzle on this guy......I'm sure that 65 million voters saw it the same was–right Senator?

    November 12, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Spencer/VA

    The GOP is broken and I hope it never gets fixed. How does a major political party get taken over? Ask all those right wingers of the republican party. It clearly isn't the party of Abe Lincoln anymore.

    November 12, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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