SFWMD votes to extend sugar leases on reservoir land
Over the objections of a congressman and the governor-elect, the South Florida Water Management District extended the lease on land to be used for the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
The lease with New Hope Sugar Co., a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, that would have expired at the end of March now will extend until March 31, 2027. Provisions allow the district to take parts or all of the land back, with four months notice, for construction of the reservoir.
Noting the extension proposal was not announced until Wednesday night, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, told board members he and Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis wanted to be briefed on the proposal before its approval “to make sure we’re not adding additional hurdles to the project.” Still, the board voted unanimously, with member Daniel O’Keefe abstaining, to approve the lease extension.
The lease is not done until March so it was reasonable to expect this could have been discussed at the Dec meeting.
Notice was given at 9 pm the night before. There may be a sunshine law violation.
Here is Congressman Mast and Captains for Clean Water speaking about the issue.
Updated 10 am letter from the Everglades Foundation.