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

Florida governor announces terms of Everglades deal

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/12/art.everglades.gi.jpg 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. Mikey

    1/20/13 November 12th, 2008 11:45 am ET
    Has this been cleared through the Messiah????He may want to give some of that land away to thel ess fortunate
    ______________________________________________
    So, does this mean we are going to have to put up with pointless sniping from little jerks for the next EIGHT years.

    November 12, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Texan for Progression

    Sounds like Crist is moving to the center if not left. I mean, doesn't this go agianst the core principles of the republican party...government intervention in private markets? I don't consider myself a democrat, but for the life of me I can't figure out republicans. When I engage them all I get is nonsense like the comment from "1/20/13" above.

    November 12, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Pozi

    Thankyou Rockford for pointing that out... (Janet/ AZ)

    I think this is risky step but for improvement and stability for Florida residents. I commend Crist for making these hard decisions.

    November 12, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Fix the Broken

    1/20/13,

    I don't think God (or other deity) had much say in the deal that was done.

    And I see you are excited about 1/20/13 like me - the day that Obama is inaugurated for his second term. That's a great show of unity. I love it!

    November 12, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Felines for Freedom

    As a Florida democrat who did not vote for Crist but liked him prior to the Florida primary fiasco and before he endorsed drilling on the Florida coast, I am glad to see he is returning to the moderate form that at one point made him one of the nation's best governors. Good job Crist.

    November 12, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. blaising

    As a Floridian, I applaud you Charlie! Even though you've got that "R" after your name, you have a heart. Environmental issues transcend partisan politics, and you demonstrate that.

    Kinda like when you expanded early voting hours here in Florida...you make me proud to be a Floridian!!

    November 12, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. mitch

    a republican who cares about the environment? if mccain had won, the governor would be installing oil rigs. political pandering at best. good for florida,tho.

    November 12, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Milhouse van Houten

    Sounds like a"sweet"deal.

    November 12, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. mitch

    1/20/13: you want to put the 'less fortunate' in a swamp? i dont think any 'messiah' would be pleased with your UN-fotunate mindset. you could use a good dose of 'hope' with a lot of 'change' thrown in.

    November 12, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Liberal and Proud of It

    It is important for us to keep this poor planet alive. Conservatives are in denial about this, and they have developed a contemptuous rhetoric to ridicule "tree-huggers." We must ignore what Conservatives say for two reasons. First, they are usually wrong. Second, they usually don't mean what they say. Rhetoric, for them, is just a way to increase their own power or wealth.

    It is good for Florida to attempt repair of the ecological damage done to that peninsula.

    November 12, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Chuck

    Where was a school of alligators when you really needed one?

    November 12, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Laughing in S.F.

    Campaign photo op in the Everglades! Haha! That worked out so well for you, McCain!

    Speaking of the GOP, I'm so glad I'm nowhere NEAR Miami today! From Crist to Arnold to Palin, the air must smell pretty foul there today.

    November 12, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Franky

    "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."

    Well, well. When it comes to business, anything happens huh? I see how it is. When you are bogus, criticize but when you are nice, praise? Who knew the GOP were so good at this...

    November 12, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Obi-Wan

    Selling out America to corporate interests, totally awesome!

    November 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. jobs

    ah, the hubris...no money, and continuing to spend. It's impossible to tell a democrat from a republican these days.

    well, we're so deep in the hole, let's just keep spending. after all, if you're drunk already, why not have a few more??? Keep the party going!! Wooo Hooo!!! Spend, Spend, Spend!! Then the we can all be told we have to bailout the states!!!

    Yay!!!
    Take my money government, please sir, take some more, sir...

    November 12, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. DAG

    It would be nice to do some test on the effect of man's encroachment into the everglades on wildlife.

    I suggest that Sarah Palin, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson and the religious right gather in the everglades and see if the aligators still have a good appetite. We could kill two birds (so to speak) with one stone. Do some good by getting rid of this group and at the same time being able to see the effects (hopefully none) of man's encroachment on wildlife.

    Sarah, you are already in Florida so just come on over. After all it's lunchtime.

    November 12, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. My Friends, let me tell you,

    Theres oil in the everglades,lets drill now.

    November 12, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. george from alaska

    this everglades action is republican big sugar money over truth.

    florida scientist fired by republicans for simply doing his job and collecting everglades pollution data:

    http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=830

    November 12, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Praetorian

    Thanks Charlie--

    After the State of Florida–created a sweetheart deal w/ U.S. sugar acquiring the land in the first place, and the clear profit on the purchase all gratis the Florida taxpayer–it's clear the GOP is the same in Florida as it always has been.

    Rather than force this failed company–to eat it's losses and get a good price for the land the corrupt idiots manage–let's offer them the current fair market value–again all gratis the Florida taxpayer.

    Thanks Charlie–but if you expect any educated (and even moderatley well read) Floridian to be stuck with a new Governor–now giving us another shot in the shorts–you are sadly unaware of the growing expectation of open government and accountability–didn't you see the national election results?

    November 12, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Praetorian

    Another Governor with his lips on the corporate butt.

    November 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Caprice (Vancouver)

    Obviously Paul Broun is not a student of History (not even the high school level!)
    Hitler was a Fascist and opposed the Marxists. Neither group was a good thing but gee Broun, get it right! This kind of general ignorance is worrying.

    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Yup, told u so.

    @ Mario,

    You're exactly correct. It is hypocritical for republicans not to be called on this. But that's the problem with the two parties, they really aren't two parties, they are one. They agree on the bailouts for the banks, and it is odd to see Bush now resisting the Auto bailout...maybe because he just saw $700B go up in a puff of smoke that didn't help anyone but the fat cats.

    Now Obama wants to bailout the auto fat-cats. The auto makers are suffering because they are mostly pension companies now...the bulk of their expenses are to payout pensions. THey could care less about listening to car buyers...that's why Japan and Korea are winning!!

    November 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Phil in KC

    Praise that which is good, condemn that which is bad. I don't see a conflict in the reaction of the environmentalists mentione.

    November 12, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Montana Blue

    Ladies and gentlemen, met the next R President of the United States.

    November 12, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Cynthia; Bham

    One question. Did Governor Crist get married?

    November 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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