WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Efforts to restore portions of the Everglades to more historic conditions have prompted the state government to buy up United States Sugar and its 187,000 acres of land. Under the proposal, U.S. Sugar would continue operating as usual for the next six years, before turning their land over to officials. But the proposal, intended to return the River of Grass to its natural flow, has been complicated by Florida Crystals, another Florida-based sugar producer, whose refinery and biomass-energy plant sit where the River of Grass once ran.
Law makers hope to negotiate with the Fanjuls’ family-run sugar company, using U.S. Sugar’s assets as leverage. But it is still unclear what agreement will be made. Negotiations with the Fanjuls came in the wake of a federal court ruling that Florida and the federal Environmental Protection Agency had failed to meet the requirements of Clean Water Act in regards to the restoration of the Everglades.
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Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org