Big Sugar's Exit Gives Hope to Everglades

Florida land deal boosts ecological preservation efforts
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 9, 2008 10:22 AM CDT
The stacks of the U.S. Sugar Mill in Clewiston, Fla., are shown here. Under terms of the agreement, the state of Florida will use U.S. Sugar Corporation's 187,000 acres of farmland for restoration.    (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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(Newser) – Everglades restoration may finally be a reality, writes Michael Grunwald in Yale Environment 360 during his “vacation from defeatism.” Florida's tentative $1.75 billion land deal with US Sugar would halt sugar production (and pollution) on nearly 300 square miles, and have an ecological ripple-effect that extends beyond saving the Florida Panther or sparing nature from suburban development.

Should it go through, the deal could offer a blueprint for restoring the Great Lakes, Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, the Chesapeake Bay, and Iraq’s Garden of Eden marshes. “It could be a milestone in the history of sustainable development, ecological repair, and even human redemption,” writes Grunwald, letting water flow as nature intended, preserving 69 endangered species, and sidestepping "the water wars that will be a fixture of 21st-century geopolitics."