From: Damien Cave, The New York Times
Published April 2, 2009 10:25 AM

Everglades Restoration Plan Shrinks

MIAMI — The Everglades have become yet another victim of the shrinking economy.

Gov. Charlie Crist announced Wednesday that Florida would significantly scale back its $1.34 billion deal to restore the Everglades by buying 180,000 acres from the United States Sugar Corporation.

At a news conference in Tallahassee, Mr. Crist outlined a far more modest proposal: $530 million for 72,500 acres, with an option to buy the rest by 2019.

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"We feel this is the best opportunity, the best financial scenario we can present," Mr. Crist said, adding, "The economy has been what it has been, and we have to deal with the parameters we are given."

The new proposal, if approved by the South Florida Water Management District and the board of United States Sugar, would amount to the second major revision of a plan that began last June as a purchase of United States Sugar, all assets included, for $1.75 billion.

Back then, state officials and environmentalists described the buyout as "the holy grail" of restoration because it would put the country’s largest sugar grower out of business and revive the water flow between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.

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