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How the state’s multi-million dollar purchase from big sugar will impact Southwest Florida

Posted at 9:49 AM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 09:49:10-04

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet recently approved nearly $2.5 million to purchase land from a sugar grower to speed up the EAA reservoir project.

As Fox 4’s sister station WPTV reported, the state said that it’s going to purchase the more than 1,200 acres of land from New Hope Sugar Co., a subsidiary of Florida Crystals.

In terms of how the purchase will impact Southwest Florida, the reservoir will store extra water from Lake Okeechobee, which means less water released into the Caloosahatchee River. This could help lower the chance of toxic algae blooms in our area.

Gov. DeSantis said this was the fastest way to get the ball rolling on building the reservoir. Advancing the timeline for a stormwater management area linked to it will also save the state about $16 million in construction costs.

As far as how much the new purchase will help speed up the timeline, the Department of Environmental Protection said the first of three phases of the stormwater management area could begin as early as late Fall. It will depend on if the project is approved by the U.S. Army Corps.