Editorial: Miccosukee Tribe battles questionable land deal
"A ruling by a Miami federal judge this week might signal the end for a controversial Big Sugar land deal that should not have been approved in the first place.

On Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno issued a ruling that should see deadlines set for restarting construction of a city-size reservoir in the Everglades. The $800 million reservoir project was halted in May 2008 to clear the way for Gov. Charlie Crist’s questionable land deal with U.S. Sugar to restore part of the Everglades.

U.S. Sugar rival Florida Crystals and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians have opposed Crist’s plan saying that it represented a bailout for an agricultural giant with political influence because the state would spend $536 million buying 73,000 acres from the nation’s largest cane sugar producer.

Crist’s initial plan was even bigger, calling for the state to spend $1.75 billion to buy all of U.S. Sugar’s 180,000 acres and assets in the Everglades. The original plan had appeal because U.S. Sugar would have been liquidated, removing a major industrial presence from the fragile Everglades ecosystem.

But in the two years since Crist announced his intentions, the deal has gone sour."

Get the Story:
EDITORIAL: Let sugar deal slide (The Panama City News Herald 4/2)

Related Stories:
Decision backs Miccosukee Tribe in battle over Everglades (4/1)