Sugar buyout to delay other Everglades projects

Water managers vowed Thursday to close the $1.75 billion deal for the U.S. Sugar Corp without hiking taxes on South Florida homeowners, but the big buyout will come at the cost of delay for other Everglades projects.

The South Florida Water Management District's proposed budget would scale down, postpone or shift construction work to the federal government -- diverting the savings to buy a swath of sugar fields long coveted by environmentalists.

District board member Charles Duaray sounded skeptical that the district, which only two months ago had been worried about the impact of statewide budget cuts, could easily take on the largest conservation land buy in state history.

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