Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Buy Sugarland Now!

A St. Lucie River toxic algae bloom in Stuart on Aug. 1, 2013.
Image credit: 
Dick Miller.
To combat Everglades drought and coastal toxic algae blooms, the State of Florida needs to acquire the remaining 150,000 acres of US Sugar land it optioned three-and-a-half years ago.

Last summer, thousands of Treasure Coast residents took to the streets as black and green ooze swept through the Indian River Lagoon. The toxins killed fish, dolphins and manatees and devastated the local economy.

Each winter, the Everglades, source of water for seven million people, is increasingly subject to drought.

Everglades Drought:
Completing the US Sugar purchase would help solve both problems

The land could be used or swapped to create shallow basins to store water and remove harmful nutrients, before heading south to the Everglades.

When the US Sugar purchase was announced in 2008 by Governor Charlie Crist, environmentalists cheered the conversion of 187,000 acres to public land. But a neighboring sugar company, Florida Crystals, fought the purchase. Eventually, the state bought 27,000 acres, but the rest stayed on the table.

More than 5,000 protest dirty water in the Indian River Lagoon
Despite a surplus budget, Governor Scott is unwilling to buy the remaining US Sugar lands available under contract.  

What can you do? Contact jonathan.ullman@sierraclub.org and put the words “Buy Sugarland Now!” in the subject line. We will tell you more about our campaign, and how you can make a difference.

-- Jonathan Ullman, South Florida/Everglades Senior Organizing Representative