The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Guest, Earthjustice, (850) 681-0031

Governor Crist Pulls Off Everglades Win Despite Economy

Preservation deal revised, now cheaper


Earthjustice commends Governor Charlie Crist for negotiating a revised and cheaper deal to buy critical land from U.S. Sugar for Everglades restoration, despite the nationwide economic downturn.

"In a time of financial meltdown, Charlie Crist is managing to pull the biggest land deal in the state's history out of the fire," said David Guest, managing attorney for the Florida office of Earthjustice. "This was the hardest time imaginable to pull off a deal like this."

Under the revised deal, Florida will pay U.S. sugar $1.34 billion, instead of the $1.75 billion originally proposed in June. Florida will buy nearly the same amount of land, but won't buy the company's mill, railroad lines or citrus processing plant.

"It makes fiscal sense for the state," Guest said. "Pulling the mill and railroad out of the deal added a practical benefit to the deal. Now the state won't have to worry whether it is being maintained to preserve its sale value."

"Pulling the mill, the railroad, and the citrus plant out of the deal also makes the purchase dramatically cheaper," Guest said. "This is a win for the Everglades."

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.