Home Environmental SFWMD’s Last Minute Move To Extend Sugarcane Lease Triggers Hearing Demand

SFWMD’s Last Minute Move To Extend Sugarcane Lease Triggers Hearing Demand

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Clearing Sugarcane Fields On Acreage To Be Used For Site Work To Expedite The Reservoir Project. (Photo: South Florida Water Management District)

Nineteen years ago, the South Florida Water Management District bought 16,158 rural acres  south of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County leased for sugar cane farming as part of the massive Everglades restoration project. But one night last month, just hours before the district’s morning meeting, a resolution was quietly added to the governing board’s agenda that would extend the lease to a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, delaying restoration for as long as eight years.

The measure passed the district’s nine-member governing board unanimously, with board member Dan O’Keefe abstaining.

Now, in an effort to reverse the district’s Nov. 8 decision, the Florida Wildlife Federation and Marty Baum, a South Florida conservation activist and founder of Indian Riverkeeper, have filed a petition with the district demanding a formal administrative hearing on the matter.

Katherine Lewin, FloridaBulldog.org, Special to SouthFloridaReporter.com, Dec. 10, 2018

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