Independent Federal Judge Resumes Everglades Project

Mar 31, 2010, 19:15 ET from Florida Crystals Corporation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal District Court Judge Federico Moreno today renewed the potential for Everglades restoration to become a reality by ordering the South Florida Water Management District to resume and complete construction of the A-1 reservoir, one of 68 projects authorized under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

Construction commenced on the massive 16,700-acre reservoir, the largest in the world, in 2006 as part of former Gov. Jeb Bush's successful Acceler8 program. Gov. Charlie Crist worked with the District to halt construction of the reservoir in 2008 in order to divert the funds to his proposed purchase of U.S. Sugar's lands.

The District had already spent nearly $300 million when the project was abruptly stopped.

"Thankfully, we have an independent judiciary that is willing to do the right thing and is not blinded by politics," said Gaston Cantens, vice president of Florida Crystals.

Florida Crystals has opposed Gov. Crist's U.S. Sugar deal because of the negative impact it has had -- and would continue to have -- on the District's financial ability to construct Everglades projects. In fact, to date, not a single authorized CERP project has ever been completed. The U.S. Sugar acquisition further hinders the Everglades and delays preservation efforts.

In his order, Judge Moreno agreed, stating: "Although the partial sugar land acquisition may be in the best interest of the Everglades in the very distant future, the [Miccosukee] Tribe's environmental suffering is immediate."

Florida Crystals commends the Miccosukee Tribe for their efforts on behalf of the Everglades and pledges to continue working toward successful Everglades preservation.


Gaston Cantens


SOURCE Florida Crystals Corporation