Big Sugar vs. the Everglades

By Mark Ferrulo - March 10, 2015

“In Tallahassee you can be a gutsy champion for the Everglades, or just another lame shill for Big Sugar. You can’t be both, though some politicians try to pretend.” - Carl Hiaasen

It’s time to stop the pretending and demand our legislators stand up to Big Sugar, protect our water and end the deadlock on Everglades restoration once and for all. What has been called "the most critical piece of land ever for Everglades restoration" can be acquired this year, but Big Sugar is backsliding on a previous agreement to do so, hoping you won’t notice.

Sign the petition to the Florida Legislature today and tell them to buy this critical land south of Lake Okeechobee. We can help save the Everglades from Big Sugar and protect Florida’s drinking water all at the same time.

In 2010, the State of Florida made a deal with the sugar industry to acquire land to clean up the industry’s pollution, protect drinking water, and clean up terribly polluted waterways on both coasts. The sugar industry signed an agreement to sell the land so the state could build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to contain overflowing polluted waters. The CEO of U.S. Sugar at the time praised the deal, “The bottom line: Florida has a very rare opportunity to reacquire a large swath of the historic Everglades from a willing seller.1”

Now, thanks to the passage of Amendment 1, the state has the funds to purchase this critically important land, but Big Sugar is doing a big flip-flop. Legislators that have received millions in campaign contributions from Big Sugar are dragging their feet, hoping they can run out the clock for their Big Sugar donors.

In the 2014 election, the people of Florida demonstrated their strong desire to purchase sensitive lands critical to preservation and protecting waterways by passing Amendment 1 with 75% of the vote. Now the legislature is simply out of excuses.

Tell the Florida Legislature to stop stalling for Big Sugar and help save the Everglades and our drinking water.

For decades, Floridians have vigorously fought to restore the natural flow of the Everglades after a century of disastrous dredging, damming, and destruction. Undoing this damage has been slow, but steady. Fighting progress almost every step of the way has been Big Sugar, which is one of the biggest polluters of the Everglades. U.S. Sugar itself has been one of the worst violators.2

This issue comes down to a choice: Big Sugar, their deep pockets, and army of lobbyists vs. the Everglades and Florida voters.

The fight to save this part of Florida is in fact bigger than the Everglades itself. This is about whether we genuinely recognize that the fate of people and nature are irrevocably tied together. As one environmental leader put it, “The Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet.”

Take action for the Everglades, and the Florida we love, today.

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1“Land purchase a victory for state, not a bailout for U.S. Sugar” Palm Beach Post, 4/2/10.

2“Sugar Firm Set To Pay Record Fine” South Florida Sun Sentinel, 12/3/91.