Sale aids Everglades

Florida’s governor helps broker a deal to restore the region

Conservationists watched in awe as Florida officials worked to seal the deal on a plan that eventually will restore a portion of the Everglades to a natural state not seen for more than a century.

Gov. Charlie Crist is largely responsible for brokering a deal with U.S. Sugar Corp. to secure 187,000 acres of polluted fields, including a railroad and refinery. With a price tag of $1.75 billion, the exchange is one of the largest environmental acquisitions in U.S. history, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The land lies between Lake Okeechobee and the already-protected region leading to the Atlantic. Once fully in the government’s hands, the land will open the natural path of the Everglades.

As part of the deal, Robert H. Buker Jr., the privately held company’s chief executive, will lease the property back from the government for six years to meet contractual obligations for workers and orders.