Everglades: New 'lite' sugar buyout

After five months of negotiations, the state has crafted a new ''lite'' version of the Big Sugar buyout: same great tracts, less taxpayer money.

Under the terms of an agreement Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce Tuesday in Miami, the state will still buy the U.S. Sugar Corp.'s sprawling fields for Everglades restoration. But the revised contract, which sources said was all but wrapped up, would include two critical changes from the blockbuster $1.75 billion buyout Crist unveiled in June.

The company would keep a high-tech sugar mill in Clewiston, a citrus processing plant, a railroad and -- most critically -- its ability to stay in business. And the South Florida Water Management District, facing a worsening budget squeeze, could cut the price tag by about $400 million

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