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Senate proposes compromise over plan to build Everglades reservoir

Senate President Joe Negron appears ready to compromise in order to get a top priority through the Legislature.

On Tuesday, Sen. Rob Bradley filed a wide-sweeping amendment to a bill (SB 10) that would, among other things, set aside money for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, a top priority for Negron.

The amendment essentially rewrites the bill, removing the requirement to buy up to 60,000 of agriculture land to build a water storage reservoir. Instead under the new proposal, the would convert 14,000 acres of state-owned land in the A-2 parcel to create a water storage reservoir. That land is currently being leased by Florida Crystals.

Negron has long called on the state state lawmakers to set aside money to purchase land for water storage south of the lake, and in August, even rolled out his own plan to do so. Under the the original plan, the state would have purchased 60,000 acres of private land at the cost of about $2.4 billion. That proposal included bonding, something House leaders have been opposed to.

But private landowners have been opposed to the proposal. In February, several of the largest land owners — including U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals — in the Everglades Agricultural Area said they did not support “any governmental acquisition of additional farm lands south of Lake Okeechobee to solve issues that are being caused north of Lake Okeechobee and in Martin County.”

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The plan faced opposition from Senate Democrats. A similar proposal has stalled in the House

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