One of the U.S.’s great subsidized industries has heard its death knell. Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced the South Florida Water Management District’s planned acquisition of 187,000 acres of sugar plantation in the Everglades. The deal is being hailed as the state’s largest land purchase for environmental reasons. The heavily subsidized U.S. Sugar Corporation has been producing around 8% of the nation’s supply of the cane sugar since it was founded in 1931 by the head of General Motors. Environmentalists are swooning. The SFWMD will agree to give the sugar company a six-year lease before the farms are completely terminated and the process of restoring the north to south flow of water in the everglades begins. This process will restore and expand numerous animal habitats, protect the state’s estuaries, and eliminate a major source of water pollution. This deal will reverse the precedent set after the failure of one of the nation’s largest environmental lawsuits that was fought over the land in the mid-90’s. As Mr. Crist is a republican vice presidential hopeful, appearing to be environmentally and Florida friendly would be a major asset in his bid to run with McCain. This is especially true given McCain’s stance on natural gas drilling off that state’s shores. Whatever the motives, this land purchase is a major environmental milestone for Florida and a substantial contribution to the natural heritage of the entire country.

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