Land Deal to Preserve Everglades

Tallahassee, FL – A giant land deal intended to help preserve the everglades is taking longer than expected. James Call reports, Negotiations for the state to buy U.S. Sugar Corporations property in south Florida will continue past the November 30th deadline set by Governor Charlie Crist.

Officials say surveyors are still measuring the 300 square miles of land south of lake Okeechobee. The deal would put U.S. Sugar out of business in six years. It provides 1700 jobs in the region and civic leaders worry what will happen when those jobs are gone. The Chairman of the state senate's agricultural committee, J.D. Alexander is calling for a thorough review of the economic ripples created if U.S. Sugar were to reduce its south Florida operation.

The south Florida water management district which oversees Everglades restoration plans to borrow the money to buy the land and pay off the debt with property taxes from a 16-county region. Negotiations are now expected to continue into 2009.