TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Supreme Court has approved financing for the state's purchase of 73,000 acres from U.S. Sugar Corp. for Everglades restoration.
The justices Thursday ruled that the South Florida Water Management District can use a form of bond financing known as certificates of participation.
They rejected arguments by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians that the land deal will not serve a public purpose.
The high court, though, ruled an option to buy additional land in the future does not serve a public purpose and, therefore, certificates of participation cannot be used to for those expenses.
The Supreme Court also said the district cannot substitute other lands for those specified in the deal.
U.S. Sugar says it's pleased with the Florida Supreme Court ruling.
“The Florida Supreme Court has ruled favorably and unanimously on the South Florida Water Management District’s legal authority to finance the acquisition of US Sugar property for restoration,” said Judy Sanchez, director of corporate communications.
“This decision also affirmed once and for all that the acquisition of U.S. Sugar lands fulfills a valid and extremely important public purpose in providing land for water storage and treatment to benefit the Everglades ecosystem and the coastal estuaries,” Sanchez said.