Palm Beach Post editorial: Move now to buy sugar land, send excess Lake O water south

Protesters, including active paddler Tracy Booth, of Stuart, show their opposition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers release of water into the St. Lucie Estuary at the St. Lucie River lock and dam last week. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

The message to Gov. Rick Scott from a growing number of South Florida residents is clear: Buy U.S. Sugar Corp. land south of Lake Okeechobee now. Use it to store and clean the lake’s excess water, and send it south to the Everglades.

Environmental activists want the water cleaned up and sent south to the water-starved Everglades instead; and for the first time in years, everything is aligned to make that happen — if the governor leads the way.

Money from Amendment 1, the water and land conservation measure voters overwhelmingly approved in November, is available. The state’s option to buy 46,000 acres south of Lake O from sugar industry landowners remains in effect until October. But a decision to buy the land must be made now.

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