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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Malcolm ABubba@ Wade Jr.
Mr. Wade opens his interview by describing his job responsibilities at U.S. Sugar, as well as
how he became involved in Everglades issues, on page 1. The 1988 federal-state lawsuit
concerning the Everglades is treated at length (page 1-3), as well as the judicial consent
decree in response to the lawsuit and the lawsuits stemming from the 1991 settlement
agreement (4-6). Particular attention is paid to the issue of water-quality standards that
triggered much dissension (page 6). Mr. Wade also talks about the science issues,
particularly concerning Curtis Richardson, that became tangled up in Everglades planning
On page 8-9, Mr. Wade discusses the Everglades Protection District, especially with regard
to a 1993 mediation in which the Flo-Sun sugar company broke ranks and signed a
separate settlement. This extends into a discussion of differences and similarities among
the sugar-growers (page 9-10), including references to the Florida Sugercane League (10-
11). Mr. Wade responds to criticisms that the Everglades Forever Act too pro-sugar on
page 11-13, noting that sugar is actually one of the lesser agricultural polluters in the
Everglades (13-14). He also comments on the uses of technology that alleviate the effects
of this pollution (page 14; see 21-22 for aquifer storage and retrieval), and offers his views
on how environmental writers have treated the sugar companies (page 14-15)
On page 15-16, Mr. Wade touches on the Governor=s Commission for a Sustainable South
Florida (which he had begun earlier) and the proliferation of different environmental groups
involved in Everglades restoration (see also 40-41, particularly about Mary Barley). He
shares his thoughts on Nathaniel Reed, environmental leader, on page 16-17, and
discusses the Amendment Four and Five issues that the sugar-growers lobbied against at
length (page 17-20, and the latter particularly in regard to public relations). He also talks
about the Everglades Task Force and its lack of balance (page 21; 24) and the Army
Corps of Engineers and Mike Davis (page 23).
On a more general level, Mr. Wade discusses the problems inherent in unified the disparate
interests involved in resuscitating the Everglades on page 25, and the changes that came
about to make such a project thinkable (page 26-27). He also talks about his criticism of
the Everglades plan which he shared in Congressional testimony (page 27-28), how the
plan subordinates economic water-uses (page 28), and his stress on maintaining fiscal
responsibility in Everglades restoration (page 29). He gives his take on Bob Graham,
Connie Mack and Terry Rice and their importance to Everglades restoration on page 30, as
well as sugar=s relationship with the Miccosukee Indians (page 30-31). He also talks
about the Talisman Purchase (page 31-33).
Mr. Wades= opinion on the first priorities for Everglades restoration can be found on
page 33. He follows that with criticisms of flow-ways which are advocated by some
environmentalists (page 33-34). He also converses on the best management practices
his company uses (page 34-35), as well as controlled-burning (page 36), and methyl
mercury poisoning (page 36). Page 37 contains his thoughts on the future of sugar-
farming, and page 38-39, the role that land-acquisition will play in restoring the
Everglades. On page 39 and 43, he discusses the influence of politics on both the
national and state level that impact the restoration efforts. By the interviews close, he
presents his Aprognosis@ for the success of restoration efforts (page 42), his most
important lessons learned from this process (page 43) and the need for responsible
education for a larger public with regard to the complex issues of the Everglades (page
Interviewee: Malcolm Wade, Jr.
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: April 3, 2001
P: This is Julian Pleasants, and it is April 3, 2001. I am in Clewiston, talking with Mr.
Malcolm ABubba@ Wade, Jr. Would you give me your background with U.S.
Sugar, when you first came to work, and your present position?
W: Yes. I had been with U.S. Sugar indirectly as a consultant [since] 1976 and came
to work with the company in 1982, have been here ever since, and I am currently
the senior vice president of sugarcane operations.
P: Could you give me a little more detail about what that latter title means?
W: That title I have had here just in the last year. Prior to that, it was senior vice
president of administrative services. At administrative services, I was in charge of
the civil engineering and heavy construction work that we do, the agricultural
equipment shops that repair all of the mobile equipment in the farms, the
purchasing and materials warehousing, the railroad departments, [and] the office
services. With the sugarcane operations now, in the last year, I have picked up
the agricultural department and all of the farm operations. The research
department now reports to me, as well as grower-relations.
P: Let us talk a little bit about the Everglades management, the whole concept of
restoring the Everglades. When did you first get involved in Everglades issues?
W: I first became involved in approximately 1990. The original lawsuit in 1988
involved the company. At that time, Bob Buker, who was the vice president of
legal and corporate affairs, had been involved in the lawsuit. In 1990, the
president then, Nelson Fairbanks, wanted me to become involved, because it
was becoming almost 100 percent of Bob=s time to handle the lawsuit and the
Everglades [matters], so he wanted to kind of try to spread out the work. His
hopes were that it would be a small percentage of time for both of us, and as it
turned out over the next couple years, it was probably 100 percent of both of our
times. So I got started in 1990 and had been involved in the Everglades
settlement agreement, the mediation, the Everglades Forever Act, CERP
[Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan] and the re-study process, almost
everything since that point.
P: Let me go back to the federal-state lawsuit. That is 1988.
P: Talk about Dexter Lehtinen, who brought that lawsuit, and what Sugar=s reaction
was to the original lawsuit?
W: This is kind of what I knew of it at the time, [as I was] not being directly involved.
Dexter=s lawsuit originally was, as acting U. S. attorney, to sue the state of
Florida for violating their own water-quality standards, for changes in the flora
and fauna. It was not a numeric standard, but a standard that said that anything
that caused a change in flora and fauna was a violation of water-quality laws, and
they were claiming that the cattails that were growing in the conservation areas
were a direct cause from the pollution coming from the Everglades Agricultural
Area [EAA]. From the industry=s perspective, I think, at that time, and it was
handled through the Florida Sugarcane League, the perspective was one of, at
first, that the changes that were happening in those conservation areas were not
solely attributable to what was happening with the phosphorus coming from the
EAA; it had to do with many things, whether it be dividing the Everglades with
roadways, change in the sheet-flow that used to occur, change by man
controlling the water going into the conservation areas that affected the depth
and the timing of when the water was there versus what happened naturally.
There were a lot of different factors, fires and other things, that might have
caused the different changes in the flora and fauna. But it became a heated
debate, and we ended up with a settlement agreement between the agencies in
P: There was an initial settlement that you all did not accept.
P: Why was that?
W: The original settlement agreement, when the lawsuitt originally happened, we
made a motion to intervene, which was objected to by the federal government
and the environmental parties. The judge allowed the environmental parties to
have standing and intervene into the lawsuit, but would not allow the farmers,
which was kind of ironic, since we were the ones whose water was claimed to
have been directly impacting the Everglades, and we were not allowed in the
suit. We were allowed in the suit right when Governor [Lawton] Chiles [Florida,
1991-1999] was elected. I guess that would have been November of 1990. In
early 1991, February or so, Governor Chiles walked into the federal court and
said he surrendered his sword and he was going to enter into an agreement with
the federal government. For about three or four months, the state and the federal
government hammered a settlement agreement. Well, the problems that the
farmers had with the way that the settlement agreement was derived was the
[laws of the] state of Florida had almost demanded that there be a public process
and that the agencies have, out in the open, any laws or any rules or regulations
that they are going to have apply to Florida citizens. In this case, it was a matter
of two agencies sitting in a room and negotiating a settlement that was going to
[bind] other parties to certain things, and especially the farmers. We were going
to be bound to certain criteria, certain things to meet, and one of the biggest
problems we had was that it violated Florida law B it did not go through a public
process, and it did not allow the public to have their say so before the regulators
passed the law.
P: At one point, I believe Governor [Bob] Martinez [Florida, 1987-1991] had made
an offer to settle all this at an earlier time. Were you aware of that or involved in
W: Only peripherally so. I was not involved at that time, and I think his settlement
was more related to the Talisman acquisition. That was a Talisman sugar mill,
which was about 52,000 acres and they had their own raw sugar mill [which] had
been for sale for several years before that, in the late 1980s. The government
and the environmentalists had been trying to figure out a way to acquire that and
use it for storage, treatment areas, wetlands, whatever. The governor brought the
parties together and had a deal that was going to be worked out that really was
not as comprehensive as what was finally worked out here just a couple years
ago; it was less acres, less money going to St. Joe [Paper Company] at the time.
What ended up happening was, the deal was cut, and late at night, the
environmental groups decided to back out of the deal and the deal fell apart.
P: So that was environmentalists, not sugar.
W: That is right. Now, everybody was at the table and everybody had agreed with
the governor and all, but for whatever reason, the environmental interests
decided that the deal was not going to fly and they backed out of it. I think what
basically happened, which is kind of common in some of these kind of
negotiations, is the environmental parties that were sitting at the table agreed,
but then when they got back to their constituencies or to the other environmental
groups, they saw it was not going to fly, they would not agree to it, and then they
backed out of the table for them.
P: What had you done prior to this settlement in 1991 to clean up the phosphorus?
What had been the program for the sugar company?
W: I only became involved in this aspect in 1990, so I am not really clear if there
were attempts by the Water Management District to do anything. My
understanding is that there was probably relatively little. But by the same token,
until Dexter filed the lawsuit, there was relatively little or no request by the District
or the agencies or anybody else for anybody to change anything that they were
P: So that you were not breaking any environmental laws?
W: No. I think the perception would have been that what we were doing was not
violating any laws at that time.
P: In the judicial consent decree of 1992, you were still not actively a part of that,
W: That is right.
P: What was your reaction to that?
W: The lawsuits that started after the settlement agreement in 1991, which occurred
around May or June of 1991, most of those lawsuits had to do [with], and were
filed in, state court, because they violated state law by the agencies not having
gone through the public process and binding taxpayers and citizens to things that
the state had settled on, without ever considering talking to the legislature, talking
to the public, whatever. Then they went on to a federal decree, saying, thou shalt
do this, and those lawsuits just continued, because the position of the EAA
farmers was that it was unconscionable for an agency to bind itself without
having the legislature approve it or without ever having even listened to any of
the farmers or the public. It is called the Florida Sunshine Law, putting it out in
the sunshine and having public-opinion workshops so the agencies can get
public input before settling things like that.
P: There were really, like, thirty-some lawsuits over a period of time. Is that correct?
W: They used to say thirty, but when you really boil down to it, it was five or six, or
four or five, whatever, major lawsuits, and then everybody would count every
appeal or every filing that was a spin-off of [those five or six] as an additional
lawsuit. In essence, there were probably really only four or five significant
P: Who brought those lawsuits? Did sugar officially bring them representing farm
W: No. As I remember, and this is kind of hazy, I mean, at one point we had a chart
of all thirty and who started them. The sugar industry brought some in the state of
Florida, I think the federal government actually brought some in the state of
Florida, I believe even the Miccosukees or one of the tribes brought some of the
suits, but there were suits brought about by a bunch of different parties and then
others that would intervene in them. There were different things, like a suit for the
agencies violating Florida Sunshine Law. There were suits for the federal
agencies violating the NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act]
requirements, which are similar to the Sunshine Law, the federal counterpart that
says federal agencies have to go through a public process before they can pass
a law or bind the agencies. There were specific things that had to do with the
pollution laws, Chapter 373, for water pollution or the Clean Water Act. There
were different venues and different courts that people had sued on, and not all of
them by the farmers. Some of them were by either the federal government or
P: At this point, had they established the standard of ten parts per billion? Was that
the default standard?
W: Not at the time of the settlement agreement. The default standard of the ten parts
per billion actually came about after they passed the federal consent decree,
which I guess was in 1992 or so. The mediation actually started, it was brought
about by the Water Management District and started talking to the parties about
mediation in late 1992. Early 1993, the parties started to get together, in January,
February, and actually, I guess, hired the mediator, Jerry Cormick from Seattle,
in sometime around February or March. Then the mediation started. At one point,
there was up to twenty-something different parties involved in that mediation.
That mediation took place for roughly six, seven months, all the way until
November of 1993. The parties started meeting in Florida at first. The first thing
we did in Florida was to decide the payment, who was going to pay, what the
dollars were, those kinds of things. It then moved to Washington, in Interior,
where all the parties were meeting.
P: Mr. Bruce Babbitt [Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton].
W: That is right. They had the announcement of the Statement of Principles in July
of 1993, which basically laid out the foundation for who was going to pay, how
much they were going to pay, those types of things. From then on, the things that
had to be mediated or negotiated were things such as the permits, the length of
the permits, what was the water-quality compliance going to be, how were those
things going to be handled. At some point in November of 1993, the mediation
talks broke down. As I remember it, it was primarily because of some factors, that
had not been on the table before, that the federal government put on the table.
EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] at one point came in and said how the
Clean Water Act was going to be interpreted, and they had not said anything
about that for the prior six or eight months. It caused a real dissension between
all the different parties, so the talks broke off then, because, in essence, what it
boiled down to was, they wanted us paying all this money, but they were going to
give no assurances during the life of the project, or while it was being built, that
you were going to get any protection from the standards. Then, what happened
after it broke down in November was, most of the parties moved to Tallahassee
in January or February of 1994 for the legislative session, where everything that
had been accomplished up through November of 1993 was moved right into the
legislation, was kind of accepted as fact, so to speak, that the parties had already
agreed on it, including the Statement of Principles. So it was a foundation for the
Everglades Forever Act, and all the things that had not been decided were then
decided in the legislative process. That was a pretty horrendous legislative
session, if you can imagine, twenty-something different parties walking the halls
and lobbying the legislators. I think what turned out at the end was a piece of
legislation that was pretty balanced between all the different needs of the
different parties. It was not just meeting with legislators. I mean, it was meetings
with all the parties, just like in mediation, sitting down and talking around a table
to try to hash out different aspects of the act.
P: With the legislators?
W: No. Primarily what would happen is there might be one or two legislators who
were the key legislators, who were promoting the bill or pushing the bill through.
They might be sitting at the table, but they were sitting at the table to make sure
that all the parties sat down and tried to hammer out what the resolution was
going to be to the certain issues. Ultimately then, we worked out the Everglades
Forever [Act]. Your original question was the ten parts per billion. That came into
play during the Everglades Forever Act as the default standard, when it became
obvious that all we knew was, we could have a target standard of fifty parts per
billion for the stormwater treatment areas, but nobody knew what the standard
was ultimately going to be. What the act said was the agencies were obligated to
go forward with the research to determine what the standard was going to be and
they had to start studying the different technologies that might get you down to
that low of a number. At that point, some of the scientists had already come out
and said they believed that the natural background in the marsh was ten parts
per billion or so in pristine areas of the marsh, so they suspected that the
research would show ten parts per billion. So it was agreed to, that if we could
not go forward, figure out the research, figure out the technology to get to that,
pass the rules and regulations after having built all the STAs [stormwater
treatment areas] and then completed the project, and if anybody came in and
sued, the default standard applied. So if somebody tried to go in and hold things
up, you would have to do that knowing that you were going to get the ten parts
per billion standard.
P: But that standard does not really come into effect until 2003, does it?
W: That is correct. I think the agency is supposed to, by the end of this year, put
forth a rule. By January 1, 2002, they are supposed to put forth a rule that will
say what the standard is going to be and how it will be complied with. Then they
have to go through the rule-making process with the workshops. 2003 was the
absolute drop-dead date that you [had] to have all that completed, and that is a
pretty reasonable amount of time normally to get a rule done. You can actually, if
there is not opposition, get it done quicker than that.
P: Where are you now in terms of the standard, how many parts per billion right
now, would you say?
W: Some of the scientists have come out and said it is 7.62, and some have said
9.something, and the Miccosukee Indians have adopted a standard on their
reservation of ten parts per billion. The Duke [University] Wetland Center, Curtis
Richardson, who had been hired by the sugar industry to do studies for the last
ten years in the Everglades to try to help figure out what phosphorus is causing
and what [the] standard might be, his studies, I think right now, are showing
something in the range of twenty parts per billion or so. The whole point is that it
is not fifty, which was the interim standard for the stormwater treatment areas.
That number, I think most people recognize, is going to be pretty low. Whether it
is twenty or less, it is going to be a pretty low number.
P: Let me go back to Curtis Richardson. I guess in one of the lawsuits, you had
Curtis Richardson, the government had Ron Jones, and they were presenting
W: Yes, and the District had their own scientist, doing their own thing. It was really a
three-legged stool with the three different ones.
P: What was your strategy under these circumstances? What were you trying to
demonstrate? Obviously, the information you presented was different from what
the government was presenting.
W: Well, the industry, ever since the original lawsuit back in 1988, I mean, we were
getting overrun with the propaganda wars and the misinformation. What the
industry decided back then was, we had to hire a reputable scientist, who could
do independent reputable studies that ultimately, whether it be in court or
wherever, the science was going to have to prevail. It could not be all the hoopla
of the-sugar-is-killing-the-Everglades. What happened back then was the
industry went to the [legislature] and formed the Everglades Protection District
within the Everglades Agricultural Area. That was a self-taxing district that was
set up for roughly 500,000 acres that could tax itself up to $5 an acre per year
with an elected board, five board members. I am currently serving as a board
member. That taxing district was set up to tax itself for environmental purposes,
and it could be anything from researching BMPs [best management practices].
Actually, the district paid for some of the injection wells, for some of the sewage-
treatment plants around the lake to do deep-well injection, instead of having their
effluent go right into the district canals. They paid for the original Everglades
nutrient-removal project. They paid $1 million to pay for the original start of what
was the research project, to determine what an STA could do. That was roughly
a couple thousand acres of what is now a 12,000 acre STA or so. That protection
district is the one that hired Curtis Richardson in 1990 or so. They decided real
early on B it might have been even in 1989 B but they hired Curtis to come in and
start doing studies in the Everglades to determine, what does it look like
phosphorus does and how it impacts the marsh areas, what does it look like the
marsh really can withstand and what would be the ultimate standard? All of those
things, and he actually set up a dosing study down in the middle of Conservation
Area 2, which was a pristine area, to try to dose with phosphorus, to try to figure
out what happens in the marsh when it has different levels of phosphorus. That
was done for us to try to figure out, what is the right science and the real
science? It comes to Curtis having differences of opinion with Ron Jones or with
the district scientists, because what really happened was the federal government
had Ron Jones representing them, the industry had Curtis Richardson, and the
state basically used the scientists at the Water Management District, who did not
agree with either Ron Jones or Curtis Richardson, typically. So you had the three
of them typically having differences of opinion. But our strategy right from the
start was just to have the science, so we could have it ultimately out there on the
table as opposed to what was going on with all the misinformation. What we
learned very rapidly was that most scientists usually do not agree on anything. It
became very obvious that one was doing the sampling wrong and the other was,
you know, it just became kind of a nightmare when the scientists got together to
try to talk about their science. But I guess time heals all wounds, and what you
have seen over the ten years is a lot of that research starts coming together to
some of similar-type conclusions.
P: Who was in this Everglades Protection District?
W: The Everglades Protection District was formed just in the Everglades Agricultural
Area, and it had actual boundaries. The boundaries are a little different than the
Everglades Agricultural Area, as defined in the Everglades Forever Act, because
it includes some of the farmers to the west of the EAA, up close to the lake, who
were not necessarily in the final Everglades Forever Act, because some of those
farmers drain into the Caloosahatchee basin and not down into the Everglades.
But for purposes of the Protection District, so that the farmers could tax
themselves, it included those farmers also, so everybody in the EAA, plus some
of those other farmers, encompass some 540,000 that could tax itself $5 a year.
P: Let me ask you about the mediation effort that was going on in 1993. At one
point, apparently Flo-Sun continued to negotiate and you all broke off
negotiations. What was all that about?
W: Actually what happened was, in November, 1993, when I said that the mediation
talks fell apart, Florida Crystals, I guess, continued to talk to the federal
government and actually had a signed settlement agreement with the federal
P: I believed they paid them $4 million, did they not? They paid some sum.
W: I do not remember that. They may have. I do not think at the time that their
settlement agreement was made public, and it was not well-known as to what the
stipulations were. Sometime later down the road, a document surfaced, and we
are not really sure if that was the only document, if there were more, or what the
settlement really was. But at that point, the Florida Crystals group entered into an
agreement with the federal government, [which] basically conflicted out our
attorneys, whom we had been using jointly up until that time in the litigation. The
United States Sugar Corporation and the Sugarcane Growers Cooperative,
representing the growers throughout the area, had to proceed on in the
legislative session. Florida Crystals typically took the position that they were not
going to be a part of the legislative sessions. Although they had a presence and
they discussed certain things, whatever their agreement was with Interior, they
could not get involved in certain discussions, and they did not. It was kind of a
mystery to us as to exactly what that settlement was back then. We did not know,
they did not disclose it, and after a period of time, it really became a moot point.
P: So, in this case, you and George Wedgeworth and the co-op growers were
together, and Florida Crystals had a different perspective on the settlement.
Would that be correct?
W: Yes, that is true. George Wedgeworth and the Sugarcane Growers Cooperative
and U.S. Sugar were moving through the legislative session to try to get the
Everglades Forever Act, and the Florida Crystals group had somewhat taken a
powder. Although they were involved a little bit, they were not really as active as
the other two groups. The Sugarcane Growers Cooperative did have some
different approaches or different opinions as to what should happen in that act
than U.S. Sugar did, but as it all turned out in the end, I mean, we came up with
the act, and I think both companies supported the act and endorsed it with the
rest of the government agencies.
P: Since that time, have you cooperated with Florida Crystals?
W: Yes. I guess you would have to characterize the sugar industry here between us
and Florida Crystals and the Sugarcane Growers Cooperative as, you know, we
are neighbors and we are friends and we are fellow farmers but we all have
differences of opinion on different subjects. In a lot of cases, the strategies that
one wants to take are different than the other, but all in all, it is typically a unified
approach, strategically, although tactically, when we do certain things, in a lot of
cases, it is a different approach. Actually, at times, one will violently oppose or
disagree with the approach the other is taking.
P: So each has their own set of lobbyists?
P: What is your assessment of the influence of the Fanjul brothers?
P: Politically, economically.
W: Politically, I guess in some instances when we lobby together on things, there are
a lot of things like in the farm bill and the sugar program and all of that, that there
is joint lobbying that happens, not just between the Florida group but the whole
country, to try to protect the program that is here, which is primarily the border-
protection program, with no real cash subsidies going to anybody. The Fanjuls, if
they are doing something outside of that realm of the sugar act or the
environmental things, which they may be B I mean, they do other things than just
the sugar here B we would not know what the depth is of whatever they are doing
politically. As it relates to the sugar program and the environmental things we
have been involved in, typically it has been a joint approach. The case where
they settled and broke off, we did not know what they were doing or why, but for
the most part, on all other issues related to environment or political, it is mostly a
P: Surely, just in terms of their influence with people like Bob Graham [U.S. senator,
D-Florida, 1987-present] and Connie Mack [U.S. senator, R-Florida, 1989-
present] and on even a federal level, quite clearly in terms of subsidies and
things like that, they have a pretty powerful impact, I would imagine, and I
wonder how you would assess that compared to the impact U.S. Sugar has.
W: Well, I do not know. From U.S. Sugar=s standpoint, we give contributions,
obviously to our own legislators from Florida and people we want to support the
sugar program. I do not think any of the contributions we make, you know,
people will talk about millions and millions, but it is not that type of thing.
Whatever the Fanjuls are doing above and beyond what we do jointly, we would
have no idea. I mean, they can have their own private meetings with any
legislator they want to have, and so can we, vice-versa. We do not really have
[common political interests], other than the farm bill and environmental-type
things. For instance, last year, the WRDA [Water Resources Development Act]
2000, with passing this Everglades restoration plan, we had a presence there,
jointly with the Cooperative, and the Fanjuls hired Dawson & Associates,
consultants up there, which then later became a bigger coalition with other
utilities and farm groups and chambers of commerce and all of that, of which we
were a part. The whole group was a part of that. But other than things to do with
the Everglades or the environmental arena or the farm bill, you know, those
things we are joint with. Whatever somebody is doing politically other than that,
we would not have any knowledge of what they are doing, and they would not,
vice-versa. For us, we do not really get involved. We are in the sugar business
and agriculture and citrus business now, and we do not really have cause to get
involved in anything else. At one time, the Florida Crystals group was into
banking, and they have resorts in the Dominican Republic and sugar mills in the
Dominican Republic, and they may have some other interests.
P: What is the Florida Sugarcane League, and what does it do?
W: The Florida Sugarcane League is just [an association of Florida sugar growers]
put together here. It has been in place since the late 1960s, and it was put
together to represent the Florida industry on things we had in common, such as
legislation efforts in Washington. Really, they started originally to get involved in
things in Tallahassee, but being right here in Florida, most of the companies did
that on their own. The Florida Sugarcane League represents growers, not just
the three companies. When we talk about the three companies, just to note, we
talk about the three companies because they are the sugarcane mills that
produce the raw sugar. The Cooperative has one, U.S. Sugar has two, and the
Fanjuls, directly or indirectly, have three. There are a multitude of other growers,
who grow sugarcane in the EAA, who process their cane at one of those mills.
The League was put together as a group to represent, not only just the mills, but
all of the growers in the area, and they do things such as research programs,
whether they research varieties of cane or ways to put out fertilizer. It is set up so
that all the growers can have representation through the Florida Sugarcane
League on those types of projects. They have an extensive air-monitoring
program throughout the EAA, where they monitor the quality of the air and submit
reports for EPA under the Clean Air Act as to how we are doing. They have
[committees that monitor] the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act for [issues at]
the different mills, so that they can jointly be represented in workshops in rules
and regulations with DEP and EPA on changes in laws on, you know, boiler
permits, water permits, those kinds of things.
P: Let me go back to the Everglades Forever Act. A lot of the environmentalists, as
you know, were unhappy with this act. One criticism said it was a bail-out to end
the lawsuits. Dexter Lehtinen said it was an affirmative law permitting pollution.
They argued that the act was primarily written by sugar. What is your reaction to
W: Those statements are all kind of hogwash because, you know, that is what they
said at the time, Dexter=s reaction that it was a law that allows pollution. What he
and some of the environmentalists claimed was that everybody knew the
standard was ten [parts per billion], it was common knowledge, although we had
never done any research to prove it was ten, and therefore allowing discharges
at a target of fifty parts per billion was criminal, because you were allowing
pollution with the law. But when you go back and look back in time at where we
came from, we knew there was a problem, we had to get phosphorus down, and
when you look at it from a legislative standpoint, what are you going to do? What
would Dexter and the environmentalists have wanted the legislature to do? I
mean, so what, the standard is going to be ten parts per billion? Well, from a
legislative standpoint, there is no authoritative research that says it is ten parts
per billion. You have not passed a standard in the ERC or DEP to say it is ten
parts per billion. So [the legislature] said, we are going to have to have a law that
says we are going to do the standards over the next five, six years. We had no
idea whatsoever of what the technology was going to be that would get you that
low. So far, we had spent four years fighting to figure out whether it was STAs or
chemical treatment or what we were going to do to get to fifty [parts per billion]. It
ended up being STAs, because the agencies did not like, and the
environmentalists did not like, anything like chemical treatment, because they
said it was not good for the Everglades. So we had stormwater treatment areas.
Well, in the world, they had only ever gotten phosphorus down to, like, fifty parts
per billion, and that is why the standard or the target was set there. From a
legislative standpoint, they had to look at it and say, we can only do what we can
do, one step at a time. Let us build [stormwater] treatment areas, let us get it to
fifty, let us finish the research, and then let us implement that, whatever that
research concludes, and it is going to take ten years to do it.
P: One other criticism was that the industry paid something like $320 million, and
the argument was, that was not enough, that you needed to pay more since you
were the Aprimary polluter.@ What is your reaction to that statement?
W: That was the Mary Barley gang, which will claim today that you got to make the
polluter pay and [which] passed Amendment Five to make the polluter pay and
all that. [They] would like for the public to believe that, since we paid $300[-plus]
million and it was a $700 million project, that we got off scot-free and the public
accepted all the burden for us, but in reality what happened was all of the
discussions and the fights in the mediation and the settlement agreement before
that was exactly about that issue, who is going to pay what and what is the
obligation of the sugar farmers? The first thing we did in the mediation was [we]
went through and decided what is fair for people to pay. When you start talking
about what is fair for people to pay on a $700 million project, you got to start
backing off the components, first of all, right off the top, what is not for the EAA
farmers? STA-1 East, which is like $150 million, is a stormwater treatment area
to treat the urban coastal waters from West Palm Beach, because everything
from [Route] 441 out to where the farms are was now going to be sent back into
this stormwater treatment area to go into the Loxahatchee. I mean, it is urban,
Royal Palm Beach and Wellington, water [that] would come back in through this.
Has nothing to do with the farmers, so should we pay for that? I do not think so,
and neither did the legislative people, and neither did the agencies that we
negotiated with in the mediation. STA-5, which treats what is called the C-139
basin, west of the EAA, is typically cattle, a little bit of sugarcane and row-crops,
vegetables. That STA was determined not to be us, so it was backed out of the
cost. When you back down all the costs that were not attributable to the
sugarcane farmers... It was determined that hydro-period restoration was not the
farmers= fault. I mean, we built canals that drained the system as a society, back
in the 1940s. It was not the sugar farmers who did it, so they should not have to
pay to correct that problem.
P: As a matter of fact, if the statistics are close, these other farmers pollute before it
gets to you, right? I remember Stuart Strahl [Audubon Society] told me that sugar
was one of the lesser polluters. Would that be correct? I do not know the
W: Let me finish the other point first, as far as the Mary Barley approach and did we
pay a fair share or not. George Frampton, who was the Assistant Secretary of
Interior at the time, in the press conference in 1994 when the act was passed,
said and was quoted that he asked his attorneys, if they went through every legal
battle they could imagine and won every fight, at the tail-end of it, how much do
they think they could get the EAA sugar farmers to pay? The number came back
at something like $130 million to $190 million. He is quoted as saying that. That
made us all feel like dopes, because we had to come back home and explain
why we agreed to $300 million, but we did it, because we were getting killed in
the public-relations wars and we would have never survived long-term. We had
to settle for something. Frampton=s attorneys basically said that because there
are other issues in law as to what causes what. One of the big issues that people
need to really think about is, this system was designed by popular vote in the
1940s when the public, by popular referendum, voted to drain the Everglades
and build this system. Part of the system was to put levees over on the coast, so
that the water would no longer drain on the coast, build conservation areas to
store water for the urban coast, build an agricultural area that would pump its
water off and be stored in the conservation areas. Well, by design, it worked
perfectlyy. The problem was that the project never looked at the environmental
ramifications of anything. Now, if agriculture was put there by popular referendum
and by state and federal law and we were put in a system where we pump our
water off into a government canal, which then delivers it to the Everglades,
whose fault is that? That was one of the big stumbling-blocks that the federal
attorneys had to face when they were trying to say that this was all caused by the
EAA farmers. So you get into a real debate, a real issue, when you start talking
about who is at fault and how much should somebody pay. When it relates to
Stuart=s question, as far as who is really causing the pollution, and the EAA
farmers are lower than some of the other farmers, when you look at, you know,
this water system is all the way from Orlando [and] all the way down to Key West,
when you start from Orlando and come south, if you think about it, the dairy
farmers have a standard of 1,100 parts per billion off of their farms. Cattle
farmers have a standard of 350 parts per billion off of their farms. The standard
going into Lake Okeechobee is 180 parts per billion, which we have never met.
We have been blowing that for ten years now, and the dairy and the cattle
farmers have been having problems meeting their two standards. The water we
receive from the lake typically averages 125, 130 parts per billion, so we receive
water for our irrigation from the lake that is 130 parts per billion. It is supposed to
go through us and go out of us at fifty parts per billion and going down to ten. We
get that water at 130. Currently, today, we are discharging that water at about
ninety-five parts per billion, so we are actually delivering water cleaner than we
are getting it from Lake Okeechobee for our irrigation. So the question really
starts to become, if we are getting our irrigation water at that level, and we are
expected to clean it up and deliver it with a 25 percent reduction, which is the
current way the thing works, and we deliver it into the STAs, what obligation does
the sugarcane farmer really have to take water out of the system and clean it up
down to ten parts per billion? So, yes, Stuart is right. I mean, what really happens
is most of the water that comes on to us is a lot dirtier than what it is expected to
be cleaned [to] down south. What people do not realize is, the water is actually
going from us cleaner than we get it, but this whole debate is about what our
discharge is. Our discharge is significantly cleaner than anything upstream from
P: Does the technology exist to get it down to twenty and ten parts [per billion]?
W: Right now, the stormwater treatment areas are designed for fifty parts per billion,
but the actual experience so far out of the stormwater treatment areas is between
twenty and twenty-five probably, roughly twenty-two parts per billion on average,
coming out of them. That may not sustain long-term, but for right now, it is an
indication they can get down pretty low. They are looking at several different
technologies to get down lower than that, but none of those are perfected yet.
P: Another element that is generally forgotten is development. Development does a
lot of polluting that people do not tend to factor in. They tend to look at just
agricultural discharge. So that has to be another issue to look at, right?
P: Talk about the impact that writers have had on this environmental issue, Carl
Hiaasen, Martha Musgrove, Bob King, Bill Baggs. Do you think in their writings
they have been fair to sugar?
W: It is getting better only because people are becoming, I think, more
knowledgeable about the facts and how the system works. I think one of the best
things that happened here, in this whole debate [over] the last ten years, was
probably the Governor=s Commission for Sustainable Florida B Governor Chiles
appointed fifty-something members B because people were forced to sit down at
the table and start talking about how do things factually work. We actually had
people who were shocked in that [commission] once they figured out what role
sugar really played. They actually started to understand that the only way to have
a sustainable South Florida is to have sugar there. You cannot move them out,
because you cannot manage the land. You cannot put water on all the land,
because evaporation eats it alive. What you need is a sugar industry that is
responsible, that can do its part to clean up the water, use only the water that it
needs, but keep that land managed in sugarcane. It is absolutely better than
development. They quickly realized that having developed areas in the whole
EAA was not good. I think the writers also at that time started to get more and
more educated as to the facts of how things work. What happened before then
was they succumbed to the same misinformation, the same myths, the same,
you know, sugar-is-killing-the-Everglades and all that. What that Governor=s
Commission helped everybody focus on was the problems in the Everglades are
much, much more significant that just sugar farming. [End of Side 1, Tape A.] I
think what the writers and everybody else had to finally realize was that the
Everglades problems were things such as 5,000,000 people on the coast and
developing every acre of land out to the conservation areas, digging canals
through the Everglades and dissecting it, building roadways B U. S. 41, Alligator
Alley, U. S. 27 B right through the heart of the Everglades and further dissecting
it. The development definitely had a major impact. What people started to realize
in this Governor=s Commission was, you know, the sugar farmers, if we
corrected all of our problems in the sugar industry, if we got ten parts per billion
going to the conservation areas, if we used only the water that we needed and no
more B which, we really do not use much more than we need right now B but if
we were absolutely, totally responsible, the Everglades problems are not solved;
they are far from solved. They face a lot more tougher issues than just what
sugar farming=s role is with the Everglades. Once people started getting
knowledgeable of that, things started getting better from the writers= standpoint. I
think what happens is most writers have a learning curve of about four or five
years on these Everglades. Martha had been doing it ever since the 1988
lawsuit, and Martha certainly understood how it worked. Some of the others who
come and go, what you do is you see the same, you know, they believe the
myths at first when they get here, they start asking the reasonable questions and
[unite] responsibly later on. But all in all, the press had been a problem in the
whole battle, in the original battles to start with, because so much of it was
misinformation and mischaracterized that it misled people in the public to believe
that the solution was easy B get rid of sugar, and it is all over. I think what they
have come to learn now is those are not the facts.
P: While we are on that, let us go back to this Governor=s Commission for a
Sustainable South Florida, of which you were a member. One of the things that
perhaps surprised people was that the group was able to reach a consensus.
How much, would you say, had to do with the leadership of Dick Pettigrew, or
how much had to do with just the ability of the members to understand each
others position. If I may, some of the environmentalists say, look, sugar is
tough, they can be aggressive, they can be arrogant, but they are usually true to
their word. Whereas there has been some argument that the sugar industry
would like to meet some Areasonable environmentalists.@ Could you comment
W: Sure. I think the Governor=s Commission was probably the combination of a lot
of things. You had some very, very intelligent people who were dedicated to what
they believed in who all happened to get in the room at the same time, and it was
just the dynamics of that group that kind of worked towards that goal. As far as
Dick Pettigrew, Dick Pettigrew absolutely played a tremendous part in making
that Governor=s Commission successful. You realize that even more so today,
now that it is over and we not doing that anymore. Dick was a master at keeping
that group on track, getting them back on track and getting them to that
consensus. You got to give Dick one heck of a lot of credit in the success for that
Governor=s Commission. Yes, I think it is probably true [that] the sugar industry,
especially U.S. Sugar B and I do not mean the others are not B we have been
here since 1931 and our philosophy has always been that, we live here in the
Glades, we have always had a philanthropic philosophy of supporting the
communities, always one of our-word-is-our-bond. We give our word we are
going to do something, we might be tough, but we put it on the table and we tell it
like it is. There is no beating around the bush when we are in one of those
commission meetings as to what it is our position is, and we will fight for what we
believe in. But once we do give our word, we are going to stick to it. I do believe
the problem we run into with the environmentalists is... it is not ever one
environmentalist, because most of them, when you sit down with them, [are]
pretty honorable people. They really have goals they want to live by, and you can
talk with them about how we should do things, and you can reach a conclusion
with them. But what happens is, that person either is not there very long, or when
he gets back with the rest of his constituency or with the other groups, they eat
him alive. The rest of the groups will not ever buy into what another group went in
and negotiated. You faced the same thing in the Governor=s Commission. You
had Audubon [Society], [World] Wildlife Federation and a couple others there.
Every time they would agree [on] something, you would see all the other ones
firing bombs into the commission about, well, that was them, not us. We have
seen it many, many times before. Governor Martinez, the discussion we had
earlier, is a perfect example. The Everglades Forever Act and the mediation was
a perfect example.
P: They just walked out of that.
W: Those people who sat there on the stage with Bruce Babbitt [when the statement
of principles was adopted in 1993], what happened was all the rest of the
environmental groups just trashed the thing when it was done, and those people
[who endorsed it with the mediation team] basically disappeared from the face of
the Earth shortly thereafter. The problem with the environmental groups is you
cannot ever bring them all to the table at once and get them to have a consensus
on what they are going to do.
P: Which is surprising. Everyone assumes sugar has the same interests, everybody
assumes environmentalists have the same interests, but they do not. What is
your view of Nathaniel Reed and his influence on the environmental issues?
W: Nat was, I guess, on the [South Florida Water Management District] board when I
first got involved. I met Nat and know him personally, and I think Nat truly has a
sense of trying to do what is right for the environment in South Florida. I have got
a lot of respect for him in that. I think most of the time, when he was on the
board, Nat truly tried to have a balanced approach as to what the environment
needed, while not totally ignoring what was needed for urban or agricultural, but
just trying to fight for the environment, getting some piece of the pie there. I do
think we have been a little disappointed, [as] it appears [that] Nat in the last
couple years [has] moved a little bit away from that philosophy [and] has been
more a part of the Mary Barley group and the Amendment Five group and the tax
the sugar industry, the penny-a-pound [groups]. We have been a little
disappointed in that. Nat has got to do what Nat wants to do, but I think too much
of that group is fighting a war that has been over for eight years. It is time to
move on and [seek] other solutions.
P: Let us talk about the Save Our Everglades group in 1996. There were two basic
amendments, Amendment Four and Amendment Five. Talk about your reaction,
particularly to Amendment Four, which was a penny-pound tax on sugar
production to pay for Everglades restoration. What was your strategy to defeat
W: The strategy was to defeat the amendment, because the amendment was an
amendment that would have placed a tax on the sugar industry of some $35
million a year for the next twenty-five years. Obviously, from an economic
standpoint, that is a death-knell for the industry. We are looking at times right
now, with the Freedom to Farm Act and with the NAFTA [North American Free
Trade Agreement] free trade situation, where last year we saw our prices go to
[a] historic low, to $0.17. They are back up now, but we are looking at very, very
tough times the next several years. A $35 million-a-year tax certainly makes you
not competitive going into the future, and there would have been farmers who
would have gone out of business, probably immediately, if that would have
happened. It was not a fair thing. From a public-policy standpoint, nobody had
actually looked and decided that the sugar industry should be paying that kind of
tax for the restoration of the Everglades. When you look at where we are headed
right now with the Governor=s Commission and people who have looked at how
we are going to restore the Everglades and the part that sugar plays...
P: Now, you are talking about Governor [Jeb] Bush=s [Florida, 1999-present]
W: No. Even the old commission, when they looked at who would pay for restoration
of the Everglades, for the $8 billion re-study or CERP project, the conclusion was
that you could not pick out one person and say, they are to blame or this one is
to blame, and it was decided that the funding for the whole project ought to be 50
percent state and 50 percent federal. Nowhere in that project are people looking
at, should we go out and charge individual land-owners for a project that applies
to them and have them pay a special tax and all. In their stormwater treatment
areas in there, just like there are for the Everglades Agricultural Area, when you
put that into context, the restoration plan for the Everglades, the $8 billion project,
assumes that all the EFA and the Everglades Agricultural Area projects are built
and done. It is somewhat patently unfair for anybody to think that a $35 million-a-
year tax on the sugar industry, in addition to what we are already paying, the
$300 million, is fair, that [the sugar] industry should be singled out in all sixteen
counties in South Florida, and that we ought to be paying every last dime and
every last dollar for restoration coming from our area, when nobody else in the
sixteen-county area is going to pay a dime, other than the general tax that the
whole public is going to pay. Somebody has got to deal with the public- policy
perspective, either legislatively or agency-wide, to say, here is how we are going
to deal with Everglades restoration and here is how we are going to deal with the
$8 billion; we are either going to have it as a public project or we are going to tax
individual land-owners if there are projects that apply to them. All the industry
says is, however you are going to treat everybody else, treat us the same way.
Everybody in this system has caused this [problem with] the Everglades, whether
it is development on the east coast, development in Orlando or Kissimmee
Valley, whether it is development in the EAA, none of us are any different. It is
patently unfair for people to keep thinking that the EAA has to be singled out and
pay every last dime for restoration that involves [us] when everybody else is just
going to have the government paying for it. So, from our perspective, instead of
talking penny-a-pound or how much are you going to tax sugar, the issue ought
to be how much are all sixteen counties in the South Florida Water Management
District going to pay for the projects that are going to be needed to restore South
Florida and make it sustainable going into the future. However we are going to do
that, the EAA farmers should be treated exactly the same as everybody else.
P: What were the keys to the defeat of this amendment? Advertising?
W: Yes, absolutely. You know, when you [have] to go out and advertise in thirty-
second commercials, it is really kind of deplorable what you got to do, on both
sides of the fence, during an issue like this. You get thirty-second commercials to
try to tell somebody the facts, and what really ends up happening is that the
public that votes on this issue absolutely does not understand the first thing
about Everglades restoration or what it means as far as the EAA part in
Everglades restoration. All they know are the little common [sound-bites] they
hear on TV in a thirty-second commercial. It is really kind of unconscionable that
we can make a [constitutional] decision in Florida based on that kind of
misinformation, and I say misinformation because you just cannot educate
somebody in thirty seconds on what the issues are. It took that Governor=s
Commission for Governor Chiles probably three years, in going around to all of
South Florida, to be educated by people on how the different areas worked,
whether it be dairy farmers, cattle farmers, vegetable farmers, sugar farmers, the
urban coast, the fisheries [and] the national park. I mean, by the time people
went around, it took three years probably for that Governor=s Commission to
understand how this ecosystem really worked, and they still did not totally
understand it. How can you expect somebody with ten thirty-second commercials
to understand the issues and decide whether it is a fair tax or not for somebody
to pay for a piece of that restoration?
P: Of course, the environmentalists say that you spent $22 million and distorted the
record. Your reaction to that charge?
W: We would say the other side spent $16 million and distorted the record.
P: One thing they did that hurt them, they had an ad for dead deer and implied that
it was killed by phosphorus, which, of course, was not correct. Do you think that
may have hurt their cause?
W: Absolutely. That actually infuriated a lot of people, whether it be Governor=s
Commission, legislators, whoevere, because most people who know anything
about this know that phosphorus is not going to cause deer to die in the
conservation areas, which was the implication. It is unfortunate. I mean, that is
the way these kind of TV wars and battles are fought. It was kind of
unconscionable to do that. There were probably ads we had that people would
say were unconscionable. But you got to try to get a message across in thirty
seconds to somebody, and it is just unfortunate that that is the way our system
has to work for an issue that is this significant.
P: Did you bring in some senior citizens and have the sugar workers go out and do
W: As far as the senior citizens, I do not....?
P: I understood that somebody said you had them brought in and gave them lunch
and sugar and all that sort of...
W: Oh, no, no. With the senior citizens, back in the early 1990s, a little related to the
Everglades, but we also were having labor problems with the lawsuits about the
cane-cutters that we had coming from the islands who cut the cane during the
season, we decided back in the early 1990s to have what we called an open
harvest, which we invited the media, if they wanted to go anywhere on our
property, to see anything we had. We allowed them to go into the villages to visit
where the cane-cutters were housed, which for U.S. Sugar they are housed right
in the same... we have got villages today where we house a significant amount of
our domestic workers. We are starting to get out of that now, but at that time, we
housed greater than 50 percent of our workers free, and the cane-cutters would
be housed in the same villages in a different part of the village. We allowed the
press and everybody to come in and talk to them, look at them, see the
P: But that is not related to Amendment Four.
W: No, but at the same time, we decided to start tours. We started having tours
where, during our harvest season, we would arrange for the busses, and if they
had groups that wanted to come out here and tour the industry, we would allow
them [to come] B we would arrange for the bus, we would bring them out, we
would take them on a tour of the field operations, the mills and all that. A
significant amount of those were obviously retirees and people who had time
during the week to come out here. We brought school-kids. We basically brought
almost any group that wanted to come out. Because of cost ramifications, lower
sugar prices the last couple years and all that, we discontinued the tours for the
time being. But when people talk about bringing out senior citizens, we have
been doing that probably since 1992.
P: What was your strategy about Amendment Five? Obviously, Amendment Five
passed. Was that something you decided that you were not concerned with? You
wanted to concentrate on Four?
W: Yes. You asked another question earlier, too. U.S. Sugar shut down, or we did
not start our harvest in November of 1996, so that we could have all of our
workers go out, and we tried to cover as much as we could in the sixteen-county
area, primarily the metropolitan areas where [our employees] could cover a lot of
ground in one day. We literally sent all our workers to every city that was going to
be voting and tried to go door-to-door to cover every single one of those areas so
that the voters could actually see a sugar-worker standing there talking to them
about what the issues were. That was probably one of the best things we did,
because it put a face on it, and it helped to be able to explain to somebody some
of the issues, if they wanted to ask the questions instead of listening to the thirty-
second commercial that could nowhere begin to tell them what the issues were.
P: So you concentrated on Amendment Four rather than Five?
W: Absolutely. Four was the one that you kind of had to put all your marbles at,
because Four was the one that was the immediate tax right away. The
ramifications with that one, over the next twenty-five years for the industry, were
significantly bad, so we had to fight that one tooth-and-nail.
P: Let me go now and talk a little bit about the new Everglades bill and the
Everglades Task Force. What do you think are the major factors leading to the
problems in the Everglades? We do not need to go all the way back to the Army
Corps of Engineers, but, in more modern times, what are the major problems that
have to be overcome?
W: Actually, also in your oral program you are putting together here, one of the other
people you ought to think about talking to is Paul Larson, who is a consultant for
the rock miners down in Dade [County]. In the Governor=s Commission, we set
up a technical-advisory committee and charged them with the responsibility to try
to put a report together that explained what happened to the Everglades and
where we are today. Paul had a [subcommittee], where everybody on the
commission could appoint somebody to that advisory committee. They sat there
and hammered out a document, which even Nat Reed, when he was on the
board at the Water Management District, said that it was one of the best reports
he had ever seen in all his dealings in the Everglades. If you can talk to Paul and
get a look at that document, it is a very good document for explaining what the
problems are that have caused the Everglades to be in the state that it is in
today. Roughly speaking, people like to point to the sugar industry, but when you
really get educated on what has happened, you know, we have got all the
development on both coasts, we have got the development all in the Kissimmee
Valley, we have got the EAA. We have roughly taken 50 percent of what was
once the natural ecosystem and the natural Everglades and either put farms on it
or put asphalt on it. That has a significant impact. Every time you do that, you
have to drain the water and pump it off quickly. So, we [have] to get rid of the
water. We have dug the canals and the roads through the Everglades. When you
talk about restoration of the Everglades, one thing we need to keep in mind is the
Everglades, as people think of it 200 years ago, is dead, gone, never going to be
here again. People might as well get that out of their minds, because we will
never have an Everglades like was there 200 years ago. What we have got to try
to do is save the remnant Everglades. [They] are there right now today, hav[ing]
been compartmentalized by canals and roadways, and we have got to try to
make the remnant Everglades that are there function, to the greatest degree we
can, like they used to function 200 years ago. But we will never see the
Everglades like it was. You know, it used to be a mixture of the uplands and the
marshes and the sawgrass prairies. What you have today, the uplands, for all
practical purposes, are gone, the ones that existed along the eastern coastal
areas. That part of the Everglades we will never see again. What we have got to
try to do is the tree islands, the sawgrass marshes, the open marshes, we have
got to try to preserve those in the remnant Everglades to the greatest degree we
P: When you look at the Task Force, one of the proposals, as you know, is this
aquifer-storage concept. Do you think that will work? Obviously, there are going
to be some pilot projects. I understand that.
W: When we talk about the CERP, or the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration
Plan, there are basically three main technologies that we rely on. Those are the
aquifer storage and recovery, the above-ground reservoirs, and seepage barriers
along the eastern coast. The aquifer storage and recovery wells, when we first
started this process, we almost had to forget them, because the current EPA
regulations would not allow you to put the water into the ground untreated. They
have since, as a result of this process, softened up on some of that, and it looks
like they are going to allow that. The key issue with an aquifer storage and
recovery well is, they assume a 70 percent recovery when you put the water
down in the ground, you are going to get it back. They assume treatment of a
certain level when you bring it back up, so that the waters, you know, they take
all the contaminants out that might pull up from the groundwater. Is it going to
work? Nobody knows. Aquifer-storage wells have been used for water-treatment
plants in several places throughout the state, and they work okay for that. When
we talk about putting 200 of these wells B I think they are 5,000,000 gallon-a-day
wells around Lake Okeechobee B who knows what the impact is going to be in
putting all those around the lake? I think everybody who has been involved says
we got to get the answers as quick as we can and do the pilot studies. Seepage
barriers, you know, you are basically putting a curtain wall or a concrete or rock
wall down a couple hundred feet to stop the seepage from the conservation
areas on the coast, but you are running that wall for 100 miles or so. Is that going
to work? I mean, I do not think anybody knows what the impact is going to be if
you start cutting or messing with the seepage that has always historically gone
under the levees and made its way to the coastal area. That seepage is a
tremendous water loss in the system right now, because the conservation areas
store it, it goes through the levees, goes out into the urban areas and is pumped
to Biscayne Bay or to the ocean. And above-ground reservoirs, everybody thinks,
oh boy, reservoirs, we are going to store the water and hold it. That is great when
you are out in Colorado or somewhere with a granite canyon that is totally
impervious and holds water, but when you are building an above-ground
reservoir, subjecting it to evaporation in South Florida with sandy soils and with
rock that we know is not impervious, what we know from our ponds that we have
already in our citrus groves and in our cane fields and all, where we had to put in
detention or retention ponds, is, when it is real wet, they are real wet, and when it
is dry, they are real dry. The water does not stay there. Even right now, in the
drought conditions we are having right now, those things would be bone-dry. So,
is a storage-reservoir really going to work in South Florida? I do not know. We
are talking about [240,000] acres of storage reservoirs, 60,000 in the EAA.
60,000 acres of storage reservoirs is about the size of Fort Lauderdale. What is
going to happen when you start storing that kind of water? Is it going to be there
when you need it? Is it really going to have a function when you need it? I do not
P: Then you have to determine who gets the water.
W: That has all got to be decided. Most of that is kind of determined as to how they
are going to function for those reservoirs. Their specific purpose, whether it be in
the Caloosahatchee River or the St. Lucie or whatever, that water is to be put
there and stored to be released back out for the purposes that exist today,
whether it be for the potable-treatment plants on the coast, or whether it be for
salinity, to stop the salinity from intruding upstream and into the estuaries, it will
be used for the same purposes, but is it going to be there when you need it?
P: Do you have confidence that the Army Corps of Engineers...obviously obeying
orders caused some of the problems, do you see that they are going to be
effective in changing their attitude and solving the problem?
W: First of all, I do not believe that the Army Corps of Engineers caused anything.
The Army Corps of Engineers is the biggest scapegoat for all of the past evils. All
the Army Corps of Engineers was an absolutely great servant that went out and
did exactly what it was told to do and followed its orders. If you look at the system
that was built in South Florida that, in 1947, a popular vote said, let us have the
Corps go build it, they built a great system. It was perfect, does exactly what it
was set out to do. It keeps the coastal areas totally flood-control free, except it
was designed for a much smaller population and today you do get some flooding,
only because it was designed for a different size. The agricultural area pumps its
water into the conservation area to be stored; the levee on the lake keeps people
from being flooded around the lake; the water in the lake is discharged through
the man-made rivers and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie, which did not
normally connect to the lake, and the Kissimmee River was straightened so that
the water would come down very rapidly and drain the marshes in into the lake. It
worked perfectlyy. But back in the 1940s, we were shortsighted and did not look
at environmental concerns. Can we blame the Corps, because nobody else
looked at the environmental concerns? No. No, the Corps did a great job of
building what they were set out to build.
P: So you assume they will do a great job with this project?
W: Yes, though I think these days the Corps is trying to be a little more
environmentally-friendly in the design and what they are doing in those projects
and tend to get caught up in the process of what are we going to build, as
opposed to back then, they would wait for somebody to say, we have decided
and this is what you are going to build, go build it and design it. So they tend to
be attacked a little more in trying to talk about how they could build it or what they
could do. We have got a lot of respect for the Corps here. Typically in dealing
with them, they are straightforward, they are upfront. Most of their people are
typically very honest. You ask a question, it is out on the table, and they are
telling you the answer. Should they be the scapegoat for having built what got
built in the past? No.
P: What is your assessment of Mike Davis?
W: I like Mike. Mike, I think, was a political appointee in the Army Corps. He was not
typically what we would see as the traditional Corps folks we would deal with
down here, out of the Jacksonville district. Mike got caught up in a lot of what the
administration wanted the Corps to do, which we, a lot of times, were not
necessarily in agreement with. Mike was a pretty honorable guy, though, in
dealing with everybody.
P: How was the current Task Force chosen? Who made the decisions?
W: The Task Force was chosen, I guess, in the 1996 or 1997 WRDA Bill that set out
the parameters for the Everglades restoration and set up the Task Force. It was
set up in legislation as to what secretaries of the different departments were
going to be members of the Task Force. I forgot in the legislation if it called for
Rock [Salt, director of Army Corps of Engineers]=s position to be appointed by
Interior or not, but Rock=s position, you know, was appointed by the Secretary of
Interior to coordinate the Task Force. Then I think it was also set up to have the
Working Group, which are the local representatives of those different agencies.
P: So that is how they were chosen, in effect, to represent various interests.
W: Yes. Well, it was chosen by Congress. It is in the WRTA Bill, the statute that
creates and says, these agencies will be on the Task Force. So the Task Force is
created by legislation.
P: Is it balanced, in terms of business and environmental and other interests?
W: No. Rock will shoot me for saying this, but I say it publicly at other times and
Rock and I have debates afterwards. But from the sugar industry, a land-
owner=s, a taxpayers perspective in South Florida, I do not think we view the
Task Force or the Working Group as the bodies that represent the South
Floridian=s interest. They tend to be heavily weighted to the [federal] agency
side. They do not have a lot of stakeholders on the Working Group or the Task
Force. You can say all you want to about, well, you have every opportunity to go
in for public-input or whatever. These days, public-input at an agency meeting is
looked at as almost nothing. Most people have the feeling that your public-input
is, so that they can just satisfy the laws and say they got public-input and then
move and do whatever it was they were going to do anyway. I think the
Governor=s Commission was looked at by its stakeholders as the opportunity for
the South Floridian stakeholders to have their voice heard, to have a forum for it
to be heard, for it to be presented to the legislators, so that, from the state
perspective, our legislators and our governor could hear from a body to say, here
is what the stakeholders in South Florida want to be done. I think most of those
stakeholders look at the federal Task Force and the Working Group as federal
agencies, bureaucrats, whatever you want to say, as the opportunity for them to
do what they think is right and to keep the process going, and they tend to not
ever get anything done, as opposed to, I think, most of the stakeholders want a
process where it can be a little quicker, faster, get-something-done-type-thing
and have their voice heard by somebody.
P: So federal and state bureaucracies dominate the Task Force.
W: I believe that most of the stakeholders in South Florida view it that way.
P: The question always comes up, how can you ultimately integrate the needs of
the EPA and the South Florida Water Management District and the Miccosukees
and sugar and citrus and the state and all these environmental groups? I mean,
they are so disparate in terms of what their specific interests are. How can you
ever ultimately come to a uniform solution?
W: That is a good question. The way the thing is structured is, you know, the 50-50
partners, in moving forward with the CERP, is the South Florida Water
Management District as the local sponsor and the Army Corps of Engineers as
the federal agency that are going to make the decisions. From a state
perspective, I think that what most of us feel is that some venue like the
Governor=s Commission has got to happen, to be able to advise the Water
Management District on what citrus, cattle, vegetables, sugar, urban, utilities,
[etc.], what their combined interests are. The district is now setting up another
commission, to replace Bush=s commission, that is going to sunset in June. The
Water Management District is right now setting up another commission to try to
function or serve that same role. I think it has got to be some process like that
where input can be given to the agencies. If the federal Task Force and the
Working Group want to give it to the Corps and this other commission gives it to
the Water Management District, I mean, those two agencies are the ones that
have to decide where we are moving forward from here anyway.
P: Who makes the final decision?
W: Typically, the Water Management District is going to make the final decision.
P: Do you mean specifically the South Florida Water Management District?
W: Yes, and the South Florida Water Management District has legislation now in
Florida that basically says what it can do or not do and what has to go to the
legislature or not, and there is an Everglades oversight committee set up in the
P: It is a little complicated.
W: It gets very complicated, but from the Water Management District perspective,
they are the local sponsor. If they do not support something and do not want to
pay the money, it is not going to get done. Now, likewise, if the Corps disagrees
with what the Water Management District wants to do and does not want to go to
Congress, it does not get done either. But from the state side, the Water
Management District has to approve and go forward with something before it is
going to go forward.
P: Now, you were once on the board of the South Florida Water Management...
P: You have never been?
P: Okay. But you are obviously pretty familiar with what they do.
P: One of the criticisms has been that they do not pay enough attention to science.
Do you think that is a valid criticism?
W: No. I think, unfortunately, this is the war we got caught up in since 1988 and the
early 1990s, and the science is catching up with us now. I do think that they try to
look at the science with their staff and with other people and try to make
decisions based on sound science and engineering and all. I do not believe that
the Water Management District boards try to ignore science.
P: Let me try to understand the changes that have come about. How did we get to
this ultimate achievement of passing this billion-dollar restoration of the
Everglades? Who were the key players? What specific events changed so that
we could come to at least this unanimous conclusion?
W: When you say billion, are you talking about the $8 billion?
W: Really, the way that we got there, it was right around the same time that
mediation broke down on the EAA stuff in November of 1993 that I think they
announced that they were going to start the re-study effort. That was when they
appointed the team with the Corps that was going to go around South Florida
and do workshops and obtain information and try to figure out what needs to be
built and what needs to be done to change the project. Actually, their objective
back then, that was set out for them legislatively, was to do a re-study of the
original Central and South Florida Flood Control Project to figure out what
changes need to be made to it so that it can be a sustainable system for the next
fifty years. Well, in doing that, they started going around South Florida,
workshopped, trying to figure out what is the starting point, what do we need to
build, where are the problems and so forth. In 1994, when the Governor=s
Commission started, it was not long before the two of them kind of melded
together. That process, and with the Task Force that was set up later and the
Working Group, you know, it all kind of melded into one. The Governor=s
Commission set out a lot of basic groundwork for that re-study project, analyzed
what are the components that need to be built. There were seventy-two different
components, [and] those were all looked at. Now, the commission did not look at
them in any depth, did not look at them in any scientific or engineering or
technological [way]. We had to have the experts say, here is what we think
potentially could be done.
P: Is this ultimately the chiefs report, what was his name, Joe Ballard?
W: Joe Ballard, yes.
P: Is that what ultimately came out of this?
W: No. Actually, the Governor=s Commission came out with a consensus report that
they recommended to the chief. The chief incorporated a significant amount of
that Governor=s Commission consensus report and recommendation. The chief
had his own report that went to Congress, which had been circulated and there
were aspects people did not like, but most of that got changed. There was a
letter the chief did, which caused the Miccosukee Indians and the sugar industry
to sue on the chiefs report, because it had inconsistencies between the cover
letter and the body of the chiefs actual report and the Governor=s Commission
report. But, ultimately, last year what got passed in the legislature ignored the
things that were in the chiefs letter. Realistically, what happened is all those
groups kind of came together, and this consensus now has given the foundation
for passing what was passed last year in the law. Keep in mind when we talk
about this, now, the re-study project right now and the CERP project is nothing
more than a theoretical plan. So what the group did was come up with a
theoretical plan. Now what has got to happen is the meat has got to be put to the
bones. They have got to actually go through the detailed design of each one of
these projects, figure out how they fit in together, and go back to Congress for
authorization [and] money for each different component as they move down the
track with this project.
P: When you testified before Congress on January 7, you had some criticisms. Was
this of the re-study plan?
P: Would you comment a little bit about that? Obviously, you had several areas that
you thought needed to be modified and changed. Comment a little bit on your
criticisms and then what ultimately came out of your criticisms.
W: There was a lot of detail that I testified on, but in general, one of the things the
industry did not like, and that a lot of the stakeholders did not like, was that what
the federal agencies were trying to endorse, and the Governor=s Commission
did to a certain degree, was to call this a plan, have Congress approve it, and
then say that approval gave the agencies the authority to just go on ahead and
build and implement. Our problem was that this was nothing more than a
theoretical plan and that the industry and the stakeholders in South Florida are
comfortable with the process that normally has to go through for a specific
project, to go through all of the design-work and all that the Corps has to do and
things they have to satisfy before going to Congress to say, we have done all the
homework and here now is the detailed engineering design, here is how the
project is going to work, and now we want your authorization to go on ahead and
build it and to appropriate the funds to build it. That process gives people some
comfort that there are going to be some bells-and-whistles you got to go through
to be able to say, okay, we appropriate $500 million, now go build it. It is a little
scary thought to think that the legislature would just say, or Congress would say,
here is $8 billion, we trust you, the Corps, and you, EPA, and you, Interior, to go
do the right thing, just go build it. Well, that does not give much comfort to a land-
owner or stakeholder in South Florida. So most of our [assertion] was, you
cannot just [assume] carte blanche, and I think what has happened is they have
not carte blanche approved it. Basically, Congress felt kind of the same way.
They wanted to have some of those controls and some of those [subsequent
approval steps] that had to be gone through before they would appropriate funds
and approve projects.
P: When I read your testimony, obviously a lot of it had to do with pilot projects,
reallocation of water-user supplies, cost-sharing, follow the state condemnation
procedures, that sort of thing.
P: In other words, you were literally trying to be fairly precise in your
recommendations as to what this plan ought to entail.
W: That is right.
P: The key issue apparently was also that there was an increase in the water supply
of 20 percent, and it tended to subordinate the economic users. That was a
problem that you saw then. Do you still see that as a problem?
W: Yes, absolutely. The real characterization of it is this: the Corps believes, or their
team said, that this would create X percentage more water for the system, and
therefore if they changed it all this way, there would be plenty of water for
everybody; what the stakeholders in South Florida are concerned about is
everybody has got permits for a certain amount of water use, and what they did
not want was for those agencies to have carte blanche authority without going
back to Congress to start building components and projects without making sure
B and it was called the water assurance to users B without assuring water users,
who existed in the system today, that, once they started building components,
that your water does not disappear, that they would do the components in the
projects, or build other components as they changed certain ones, so that the
new components could supply you with your water, and not build one that took
your water away and there you are, you got a permit, but you do not have any
P: You need replacement water, in effect.
W: Yes. A good example is Lake Okeechobee; if they decide to run Lake
Okeechobee different or send the water somewhere or do something different,
everybody that is around Lake Okeechobee [or] the Lake Okeechobee service
area, if they do not have some other project in place for their water supply, you
know, they are dead. What those water users wanted to have some assurances
of, is, that is fine to say we are no longer reliant on Lake Okeechobee, because
we are going to build you a reservoir, but do not build the first one without having
the second one in place, so that there is some assurance that they will have
water supply from some component in the system.
P: Now, another proposal you made, you were really interested in a one-year line-
item budget kind of proposal, whereas the environmentalists were talking, well,
we need a three-year, five-year plan. Why did you have differences on the time
W: I adamantly believe, and you can see it in what is happening right now in the
budgets, I mean, we are currently spending money, and what have we spent it
on? We have spent it on a bunch of meetings and design and whatever, and all
we have is a theoretical plan. I believe that for all government agencies, whether
it be the Water Management District, the Corps, or whatever, as we move
forward in this, I want to see a detailed line-item budget that says, here is the
$400 million we are going to get for next year, and here is what we are going to
spend it on. Because I will assure you, what will happen is, if we have a three- or
five-year period where we go back and look at it, we are going to hit year three or
five and look back and say, where did my billion two go, and we are going to
have done nothing but more meetings and built nothing. I want to see the results.
I want to hold them accountable and see that if I give them $400 million for next
year, I want to hold them accountable at the end of the year and say, where did it
go, what did you spend it on, and now what is the next $400 million going for?
P: Did your proposals have any impact?
W: I do not know if it was mine. I think there is a general belief from most
stakeholders in South Florida, from Congress and everybody else, that, that
same thing has got to happen. You have got to have a budget, and you have got
to hold those agencies accountable for what they spent that money on.
Otherwise, we are going to have an $8 billion project that is going to be $20
billion. I think just the fiscal controls, everybody wants to see them in there. [End
of Side 2, Tape A.]
P: What individuals have had the most impact on the development and the fruition
of the Everglades restoration project?
W: Jeez, I do not know if I could sit here and say that off-the-cuff. I would have to go
think about it.
P: Well, let me start with some names. Bob Graham.
W: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there is no doubt. He has been looked at as looking out
for the interests of the Everglades since the early 1980s. He has always been
somebody who, whether it be sugar or whether it be the environmentalists,
whatever, I do not think Bob takes any sides, and when you want to go have a
meeting, it is a meeting with all the groups there in front of him, and he tries to
get consensus and move down the road to somewhere where we can get
P: Connie Mack.
W: Connie, same thing. I mean, every time we have had something going on with
the Everglades, actually, most of the times when we had something going on
with the Everglades in the last eight years or so, both Connie=s staff and
Graham=s staff jointly have been working with all the different parties to try to
come to some resolution of whatever issue it is that we are working on. Both
Connie and Bob join in on the meetings when it is time to fish-or-cut-bait and
make a decision. Both their staffs jointly have worked on almost everything in the
last eight years that we have had to work on.
P: Terry Rice.
W: You know, the colonels with the Corps, Rock Salt, Terry, Joe, and I guess Joe is
now working in Jacksonville... It would have been something if Joe would have
come down and been in the Everglades, too, because then we would have had
the three past colonels, I guess, down here. Terry Rice, he was a wonderful
colonel when he was there at the Corps, definitely. He was on the Governor=s
Commission. Had his heart and soul into what the Everglades issues were, and
he is continuing. I talk with Terry periodically now. I get e-mail from him all the
time. He is continuing to move forward with what he is looking for in the
Everglades, and he is representing the Miccosukees now, I guess. I got a lot of
admiration for Terry.
P: How do you get along with the Miccosukees? Do you discuss issues with them?
W: Actually, the Miccosukees and the sugar industry probably, when this thing first
started, were seen as kind of the opposite end[s] of the spectrum. I was not really
sure why. But as things progressed, what we found out more and more in
meetings was that there was more and more of a common interest as to what we
both wanted, whether it be clean water in the Everglades or whatever. A lot of the
common thread was both of us were tired of the bureaucracy and dealing with
the government and things never getting done and trying to figure out some way
to jointly try to get them pushed, the solutions for some of these things.
P: Another issue I want to take up, and I want to get back to these Task Force
issues in a minute, but I want to talk a little bit about the Talisman land purchase.
Talk a little bit about how that actually began. What was the original concept, and
how involved was the sugar industry? Obviously, you are going to buy the land
from St. Joe [Paper Company]. Take me through the process, if you would.
W: St. Joe had announced that Talisman was for sale back in the early 1980s, I
think, so it had been up for sale for a long time. The industry had looked at it
several times. When I say the industry, individual companies, jointly, whatever,
had gone and talked to them and all, but with the asking price and with the ability
to grind and all that, I mean, a lot of business reasons, it just did not make sense
to buy it. The government got interested, I guess, originally with Martinez, in
forming some sort of reservoir on the Talisman property. As we talked about
earlier, that situation fell apart, because the environmental community could not
get consensus at the last minute on, did they buy in or not buy in, so the whole
thing kind of fell apart. That continued on into the 1990s, and it got jump-started
once or twice. As a matter of fact, in the mid- to late-1990s, when it started
becoming an issue again, probably Senator Bob Graham was the one who went
around to the parties again and said, we have got to figure something out with
this Talisman thing. It does not make sense that there is something for sale,
going to be sold, and that we are not going to take an advantage of some
significant land that could be used for environmental purposes. One of the issues
with the industry was that Talisman=s property was not really located where it
was needed for the environmental purposes. U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals
had significant landholding south of the Talisman property that was more located
in the right place for what was needed. The negotiations started probably in 1996
and went on for several years, jump-started, until I guess the federal government
actually went in and offered a price that was really kind of outrageous, way, way
more than anything the industry had ever talked about. Then the industry started
discussions about swapping land. Why not let us swap the lands that we have
south of the Talisman [properties] for the lands, and the government could have
our lands, which is where they need it, right on the border of the conservation
areas. The government was not headed down that path, except they said that
they were going to consider that after the sale and they would talk to us [later]
about swapping. Well, that does not put you in a very good position. I mean, one
of the concerns from the industry was they take the Talisman land, then the next
thing they know they want to condemn our land or take our land and put all that
in the marsh, and significant amount of cane-holdings for us are lost when none
of the science really pointed to that they needed all that much land. The
environmentalists talked about 150,000 to 200,000 acres. Long story short, after
a couple years, what really ended up in the CERP was you could justify 60,000
acres but not [150,000 to 200,000 acres].
P: Yes, they asked for too much, originally.
W: Absolutely, and our fear when all that was going on, with the 150,000 and
200,000 is, they take Talisman, and the next thing you know, they want to
condemn our lands. So what made sense was, start with the first 52,000 from
Talisman, and we will swap our lands for that. We ended up suing in federal court
for the NEPA violations [of] the federal agencies in acquiring the Talisman
property and ended up ultimately negotiating [with] the agencies and St. Joe for
ultimately what ended up being swaps of our property for the Talisman property,
and then the government took over our property and got the same ,000
acres. So they got the land they wanted, we got to swap land and not be
threatened anymore by taking more land, and the government ends up with
approximately the 60,000 acres, in the locations that it needs, to have the future
reservoir sites if they elect to put the reservoirs in.
P: What is being done on that land currently?
W: The issue that was worked out between us and the agencies was that we would
be allowed to stay on those properties and farm them, that the government owns,
for a period of five years in most cases B 10,000 acres of it is eight years B but
stay on it through 2005, and then they had a right to go on ahead and build if
they were ready to build. If they were not ready to build, we would start paying
fair-market value lease-values for the land. Once again, what we found in these
government issues like this in acquiring land is, they need somebody to manage
the property until they are ready to take it over.
P: Are you paying lease fees now?
W: No. Actually, part of the whole settlement or the agreement in working the swaps
out and how much cash was paid and all that, part of the consideration was not
paying the rent up through, I think it is, 2004.
P: It seems to me at one point, Florida Crystals sued to stop this sale because they
had not done an economic-impact study or something like that.
W: That is right.
P: And you did not enter into that suit, is that right?
W: They filed the original suit, I think, with the co-op, and we enjoined two weeks
later. I forget the time-frames, but it was right around Christmas of 1988, I think.
P: And the end result of that, ultimately, is this agreement, right?
W: That is right.
P: In the long term, do you believe both sides now are satisfied with the Talisman
W: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I think the way that it worked out ultimately was a win-win for
P: Let me get back to discussing a little more about the concept of this Everglades
restoration. What should at this point be the first priority?
W: For the Everglades restoration or the CERP project, I guess?
W: I will tell you, I think one of the first things... and if we set up this commission at
the Water Management District, my goal would be to... that commission needs to
make sure that we get a handle on where these agencies are going, what the
priority projects are, what is the sequence of building the priority projects, and
then start holding somebody accountable to try to stick to that track. Because I
believe that what we have right now in this restoration process is a whole ball of
wax of seventy-two different projects. We got people scurrying out there,
working, some or all of them with no real plan, on what we are going to build
when and what the time-frames are. I would like to see a more concrete thing of,
you know, where are we spending our dollars the first year, now that we have the
funding, what are we going to start building first, and how is it going to be spent
for the next five years or so?
P: Another issue, some environmental groups have advocated the creation of these
flow-ways. What is your reaction to that?
W: They are absolutely stupid. I mean, it makes no sense. Originally when they
brought it up in the early 1990s, the Corps, after a period of time, responded. The
whole issue with storing water in the Everglades Agricultural Area is, as you build
bigger and bigger reservoirs, you subject more and more water, that was not
above ground before, to evaporation, and you actually hurt the water supply.
Whether you build that reservoir in the south part of the system and have a line
vertically across the EAA or whether you build that reservoir horizontally in the
EAA makes no difference; it is the amount of acreage that you are taking out of
production and putting now into, subjecting it to, evaporation. Once you do that,
you hurt the water supply. A reservoir like it is going to be with the Talisman
Reservoir, eight-feet-tall levees and storing water in there, they have already
done the studies with the Corps that say up to 60,000 acres does not negatively
impact the South Florida water supply, but above that it does. Well, when you
build a flow-way with the intent of keeping it wet all the time, and trying to drain
water from the lake and keep it wet and send it south, you are talking about flow-
ways that are 100,000 plus acres.
P: Plus a lot of evaporation.
W: You do not have the water to keep it wet all the time. If you do not keep it wet all
the time, you are going to subject yourself to fires, exotic species moving in, not
having the vegetation that you want in the thing, not being able to control it,
because you do not have the water to put on it and keep it wet. You got to keep
in mind when they talk about a flow-way, too, that sounds great to somebody that
we are going to restore the natural flow from the lake to the conservation areas,
[but] we have, because of subsidence in the EAA, a shallower land-mass than
you have in the lake or in the conservation areas. It is a fact. We wish we did not
have it, but it exists. We have got a shallower bowl there than in Lake
Okeechobee or in the conservation areas. In order to let water out of the lake,
you have got to pump it somewhere or discharge it through a pipe somewhere to
get around U.S. 27 and then redistribute it so that its sheet flows down this
massive land. You have already got dikes, levees, farm canals, whatever. You
have got railroads. You have got highways that you are going to have to figure
out, do we build bridges, what do we do with them to create a flow-way? Once
you get the flow-way down, if you assume that you got it to where it got down to
the conservation areas, you do not get a sheet-flow into the conservation areas,
because now you have got a land-mass that is lower than the conservation
areas. So you have got to put pumps in again, lift the water up, pump it over into
the conservation areas and once again have established sheet flow again with
spreader canals. They can say what they want, and they can mislead the public
into thinking they are going to have some natural flow-way that is going to just
flow out of the lake into the conservation areas, but it will be another man-made
construct of some philosophical thing that is not going to work.
P: Talk about best management practices that you are currently using. One of the
things that interested me is this laser-leveling. Exactly what is that and what
benefits do you get?
W: First of all, on the best management practices in the Everglades Forever Act, the
whole philosophy in getting down to fifty parts per billion target level is that the
farms will reduce their phosphorus by 25 percent what historically used to go off
the farms, and the stormwater treatment areas would reduce 50 percent of what
historically went out of the area. That total of 75 percent gets you down to those
fifty parts per billion. So, in order for us to get down the 25 percent, there is a
whole array of BMPs, or best management practices, that we are doing. One of
them, the laser-leveling, is a concept that none of the sugar farmers used to use
for years, but the vegetable farmers were using it. It is a concept where you put a
laser out in the field B actually, the plow that you have has the receiving laser on
it B and it sets so that the two lasers hit each other and that plow is kept at the
same depth in the field so that when it goes across and plows the field, when it is
done, you can look across it and it looks almost as flat as a parking lot. The
whole concept is when we used to just disk with disks, it would be uneven and
you would have rivulets through the field and it would just wash the soil off into
the canals. One of the major issues that we deal with in the phosphorus going
south is not fertilizer, like everybody believes, but these muck soils are rich, rich,
rich in phosphorus, and not having paid attention to that soil getting into the water
column before...most of our phosphorus going south is because of soil- erosion
into the canals. Our main strategy has been to try to stop soil-erosion through a
bunch of different techniques. The laser-leveling is one. If you can have those
fields flat, you do not get as much erosion off into the ditches. We also clean the
ditches out now every year or two, as opposed to before [when] we would only
do it when something plugged up. So we try to lift that soil back out of the ditches
and canals and throw it back on the land. We also changed pumping practices.
We used to always, when it looked like it was going to rain, pump the ditches
down to the bottom, get ready for the rain. If we did not get rain, we would open
back up and have irrigation water come in, because we always wanted to have
maximum flood-control protection. We do not do that anymore. We leave the
water in the canals, [and] we do not start the pumps until we hit a certain
elevation in the canal. We then pulse-pump down to a certain elevation, because
there are sediments in the bottom of that canal, and if you draw it down too low,
all it does is cause those sediments to start moving down the canal. So, the
whole name of the game is to stop all those sediments in those canals from
making their way to the pumps, ultimately to the district canals and then down
into the Everglades.
P: Another thing, you use aquatic crops to absorb the phosphorus. Does rice absorb
phosphorus at all?
W: Yes. The rice will have the water put on it. Actually, that is good for the soils, for
subsequent crops and all. It also keeps the water in the system so that you are
not discharging the water. Then what we will do, typically, with rice is, we will
push up dikes with a bulldozer and, with the muck soils, hold the water in there
and then gradually release the water once we are done with the crop. U.S. Sugar
does not do any rice anymore to speak of, but some of the others, Florida
Crystals, still has a significant amount of rice.
P: What is the impact of your burning on the environment, and what do you do to try
to restrict that impact?
W: Actually, we work real close with the Division of Forestry on the burn program
[and] have for some time. Some of the countries around the world have tried to
get away from burning and have found it almost impossible. Burning of
sugarcane is done for economic reasons; if you did not burn the cane, it would
almost be uneconomical to be able to harvest it and grind it, so there are burn
programs to be able to burn off all the foliage that slows machines down and
slows the mill down. The Division of Forestry in the early 1990s worked with us
on regulations. They were getting complaints from the coastal areas as to the
smoke and ash. We now have strict guidelines and zones where, in the zones
closer to the east coast, we cannot burn if there is an easterly wind or if there is a
wind greater than X miles an hour. In Zone 2, which is a little farther west, you
can burn when it is a little higher mile-per-hour and all. Then, ultimately, you
cannot burn at all if there are certain conditions in the environment. Typically with
wind direction and wind speed, everything is done so that we do not affect any
more of the urban folks on the coast. Typically with a cane fire, when you light it
off, it gets real hot and sends some smoke up into the atmosphere. The ashes
typically fall out within a mile or two of the fire. We are required to have air
monitoring throughout the Everglades Agricultural Area, and I cannot remember
whether they are PM 10s or 4s, but that network monitors the air-quality in the
EAA and sends it into EPA and the Division of Forestry at the end of every year.
That air-quality has actually been found to be better in the EAA than the air-
quality on the urban coastal areas. The conclusion has been that the burning in
the area does not significantly impact the air-quality. So we have a lot of things in
place to make sure that there is not an impact and work closely with the Division
of Forestry to make sure there is not.
P: What about methyl mercury poisoning? What can be done about that?
W: For me, methyl mercury poisoning is something I better get a scientist in here to
talk about because methylizing mercury and what it takes to do it and all... I do
think one thing when we talk about methyl mercury, [and that is] something is
happening, you know, it does not occur in the EAA, does not occur in Lake
Okeechobee, yet it occurs as you go farther south in the conservation areas, in
the pristine areas. There are several assumptions that are out on the table now.
Some are that sulphur from the fertilizer might be causing something to
methylate. Most of the scientists I have talked to believe that it will not be just that
one issue B it is going to be temperature, it is going to be [water], it is going to be
phosphorus. There appears to be that when you have these impact-zones where
you have the phosphorus and all, when you have those kind of conditions, it does
not methylate the mercury, and it only starts methylating down when it starts
getting into the more pristine areas. So it seems to me like there is a lot more
research [that needs to be done] before anybody is going to be able to conclude
where that really is coming from. Methyl mercury is something that is a problem
all over the country, all over the world, and not just here in the Everglades.
P: What is the future of organic sugar farming?
W: Probably limited. I mean, it is like organic anything else, vegetables or anything
else. The American consumer is used to going into a grocery store and seeing
nice leafy heads of lettuce and celery, and unless they want to start seeing much
more smaller things and whatever... Organic is a niche market, and most
American consumers are not going to care about it.
P: How long can you continue to grow sugar in this area?
W: People continue to ask that question, because primarily of subsidence. Organic
soils subside. At one point, there were at an average of one and a half inches per
year. Now, it is roughly three-quarters of an inch and, we hope, dropping still.
The question is, will you get to some point where you cannot farm that anymore?
Our scientists have always believed that, on the land we are on, as you get
closer B there is mineral content in all the soil B as you get closer and closer to all
the muck subsiding, you will have a mineral soil left that you will still be able to
farm in. It is no different than the mineral soils in Homestead or wherever else in
the country. We believe we will still be able to farm that, you know, to infinity.
P: And how will the restoration project affect that?
W: With the restoration project, one of things we were looking at was cane that is
water-tolerant, if we could breed a cane-variety. It typically takes us, if we start
from scratch, ten years to breed a new cane-variety. If we could find a variety
that the root system is not as susceptible to disease or rotting or whatever if the
roots are wet, we would be able to keep more water on our land, and the higher
the water table, the less subsidence you get on the soils. So we are already
working on things that, hopefully, if we can be successful in them, we can have
higher water-tables, still have the same crops, the soils do not subside, we can
keep sugar in the EAA and [keep] development out. That is the win-win situation
for South Florida, to have responsible farming here in the EAA, not development,
not commercial, not anything else. I think South Florida is better for it in the
P: Part of the problem is, obviously, sugar needs a lot of water, but not too much.
W: That is right.
P: So you have to make that balance.
W: Yes. Right now, it is just like any other plant. You cannot get the root-system wet
or the plant is going to die. But everybody believes that, over time, we will be
able to breed varieties that will be able to produce with a more wet [root]-zone.
One of the strategies in the Governor=s Commission is to try to figure out, if you
have 500,000 acres in the EAA, if you can raise the water-table a foot, you have
just stored 500,000 acre-feet of water. So, from a storage standpoint, if we can
resolve that issue with the plant, we can figure out a way to store a significant
amount of water here in the EAA.
P: What is the best way to get the additional land you are going to need for this
marsh-technology? Should it be purchased under Preservation 2000? Who
should purchase it? Who makes the decision about what lands should be
W: On which purchases?
P: Just additional land for this marsh-technology.
W: When you say the marsh technology, are you talking about for the EAA?
P: Both the EAA and the entire Everglades project.
W: Okay. Well, when you talk about the marsh-technology, basically all the land for
the EAA projects, the stormwater treatment areas and the Talisman reservoirs,
for the reservoirs, is all bought. The government already owns it. There are other
lands they are going to have to buy for reservoirs or stormwater treatment areas
in the rest of South Florida that they do not own, in the Caloosahatchee Basin,
north of the lake, the St. Lucie River [and] the buffer areas along the east coast.
The Governor=s Commission tried to address those issues of who is going to
pay for what and basically came to the conclusion that it has got to be 50 percent
state and 50 percent federal, and it has got to be obtained through some sort of
taxing-mechanism or general-revenue fund. It was unfair to try to figure out ways
to tax individual land-owners, because the system is so interwoven that it is hard
to start describing one component and say, that is all these people from this
boundary to this boundary and nobody else, because one aspect of the project
benefits everybody else. It is very tough to pick out and say, local sources are
going to pay for their own projects.
P: One issue, obviously, is the condemnation of this land. In 1999, the legislature
passed a bill in which you were involved, which stated B and I believe this is
correct B if you condemn land, it is heard in state court and the attorneys fees are
paid. Is that right?
P: That is obviously something that would be beneficial to land-owners.
W: Right. I think the main issue with the condemnation is whether it is the state
process or the federal process. The federal process does not allow for a land-
owner to have his attorneys= fees paid, other things like appraisal fees and those
type of things. It became a very, very big issue in the Kissimmee Valley
restoration. Some of folks up in Okeechobee were having their land condemned
and having to go out and hire an attorney and hire an appraiser, because it was
being proposed under federal-condemnation statutes. Most of the landowners in
Florida feel like, if you are taking my land and you are taking it for a restoration
project for South Florida, it ought to be Florida law that governs. They should not
have to go out and hire an attorney and an appraiser to fight the government that
wants to take their property, that it should be Florida law to reimburse them for
those kind of expenditures.
P: Of course, the critics say, well, that is an additional cost to the taxpayers.
W: Yes, and that sounds great when you are a critic whose property is not being
taken. But when you are one of those folks sitting there with a notice on your
door saying you got to be out within such a period of time, it does not seem very
fair that you have to go out and hire and attorney and an appraiser to fight the
people who want to take your land.
P: How do you think things will change in Washington now that the [George W.]
Bush administration is in and the Clinton administration is out. Do you think the
EPA will be any different under Christie Whitman [new head of the EPA and
former governor of New Jersey]?
W: Yes. I think in general terms you are going to see a change in philosophy,
probably, in EPA and Interior maybe. As it relates to the Everglades, I would not
envision any less support or any monumental significant change because, first of
all, the whole delegation here with the congressmen and senators in this state
are all supportive and behind Everglades restoration, and they battle very hard
when they get to Washington for that. You know, a lot of the battles are just with
all the agencies and all the different parties as to how should that ultimately be
decided. But as far as supporting restoration here and supporting their
constituency in Congress, or senators, or in the administration, they are going to
be supportive of it, and so are the agencies. So, I would not see that much
changing with Everglades restoration just with the change in the administration.
P: Make one comment on the impact that Jeb Bush has had on all this process.
W: I think Jeb and his folks have had a real positive impact, and I do not think that
you would say that he was a lot better than Chiles or a lot worse or anything. I
think he has continued to support this entire process just like Chiles tried to do. I
think Jeb Bush has tried to be a strong supporter of keeping this Everglades
restoration movement going. You know, he set up his own commission. That one
is probably going to sunset, because everybody is [saying], it is better at the
District, it is better happening as a South Florida thing. But Jeb, with his DEP
folks and his board appointments and the Water Management District, he has not
missed a beat as far as keeping the momentum up and keeping restoration for
the Everglades going.
P: How critical was the passage of the bill where the state committed the funds?
This is obviously before the Congress votes on the bill.
W: That was absolutely critical. It was critical that the state show a sign to
Washington that they were supportive of the restoration, that they were going to
do their part and they were going to move forward. It sent the signal pretty loud
and clear. Jeb actually went up to Washington and testified himself, which was a
clear message. I think all of that has been a critical part in the state letting
Washington know that we are serious about [restoration].
P: You see him continuing to do that?
W: Absolutely. I think he has made that very apparent, that he wants his agencies
and the Water Management District, the DEP, to not miss a beat, to keep moving
forward with this restoration process.
P: Another issue I wanted to bring up about the environmentalists, I notice that Bob
Buker had criticized people, particularly like Mary Barley, as being more anti-
sugar than being pro-environment. Do you see that there are some elements in
the environmental community that are more inflexible, a little more radical?
W: Oh, yes.
P: Could you comment on the environmental group in general and give me some
sense of how you view each of these groups, like the Audubon Society and 1,000
Friends of Florida and that sort of thing.
W: Yes. All those groups, you know, when you get the one group by themselves and
you talk with them, or you are in Governor=s Commission meetings and there is
a group there, typically you can come to some consensus with them or reach
some agreement. They are typically pretty responsible about what they want to
do, whether it be National Audubon [Society], [the World] Wildlife Federation, the
Florida Wildlife Federation that was on the Commission. Those members were
pretty reasonable as far as trying to reach consensus. The problem that you
always run into with the environmental community is, there is never consensus in
the environmental community, never. There is always some group that is out
there throwing rocks or throwing hand grenades in with the rest of the group. You
know, how dare they have this settlement or met with sugar or did this kind of
stuff. What will typically happen is you can reach consensus with a couple of
them, but then the other ones just go around to the legislators and lobby a
different thing. So, unless you found some way to herd every environmental
group in a room and have them sign on the dotted line that they are supportive of
something, it is very, very difficult to say that you have ever reached consensus
with the environmental community. And you will get the Mary Barley types. Mary
Barley does not even understand Everglades restoration, does not know the
details. She is absolutely on a vendetta against the sugar industry. I mean, she
does not attend meetings of the Governor=s Commission and all the other foraa]
to keep abreast of where the restoration process is going and has no real
knowledge of how the system works, yet she is viewed as an environmentalist
who has a part in the Everglades restoration. Her acts are really against the
sugar industry, for whatever reason. I do not know why she is carrying on
supposedly what her husband started, but we met with her husband, and her
husband actually did not have an ax to grind with the sugar industry and made it
clear what his objective was. He said, I am afraid you guys in this process, back
in the Everglades Forever Act, are going to get all the money for restoration and
there will not be anything left for Florida Bay, which was his big thing. And, he
said, I am not going to see you guys get all the money until I know that Florida
Bay is going to be resolved. So, that was his ax to grind, and that is why he was
against Everglades Forever Act and all the money coming to us and us not
paying [the total] $700,000. It was clear where he was and he said, look, we get
this resolved and I am out of your hair. Well, unfortunately George had the
accident and passed away and now Mary, for whatever reason, thought... either
George did not tell her or she did not understand the program, because her
vendetta against the industry has carried on ever since.
P: Do you see this as a problem with Everglades restoration, that there are going to
be these environmental groups that are going to be protesting decisions?
W: Absolutely. All it does is once again confuse the issue, because the several of
them that will spend the time to understand the system and interact with the other
groups and then come to some agreement, we will accept this in exchange for
this and the bargaining that has got to take place in order to have a solution... the
others that do not spend the time to do that are the ones that start trashing it and
throwing the hand grenades and doing commercials and whatever, and all that
tends to do is confuse the public and mislead them as to really what is going on
and what the right thing is.
P: But obviously a lot of progress has been made. I was talking to Stuart Strahl and
he said, I can talk with Bubba Wade, we have different views, we have different
science, but we came to an accommodation B we understood what they want,
they try to understand what we want, and, on a reasonable basis, people who
understand the issues can come to a conclusion that will ultimately be best for
the state of Florida.
W: Yes, and I agree with that. I mean, the Stuart Strahls, the Jack Mollers, [the
Debra Harrelsons] who sat in on the Governor=s Commission meetings, they did
not agree with everything, but they at least agreed in the consensus in the end
product, and there were several other environmental groups that were there.
They agreed to the consensus, but it was all the others ones outside the room
that [would] not [agree] on it that started trashing it and then sent in press
releases and all that kind of stuff. Unless you have them all in the consensus
process, you are going to continue to get [nowhere]. You will get reporters who,
because they were not in the room, will quote Sierra Club and Sierra Club says,
this is absolutely horrible, and they are against the re-study and it does not do
this and it does not do that. What message does that send to the public. You got
a consensus group that agreed, but here are all these environmental groups that
are saying the re-study is bad for the Everglades.
P: What is your prognosis for the restoration, and I use that term advisedly, of
course. How long do you think it will take before we will see some real progress
W: I think we have seen progress just by the fact of where we have come from in the
last couple years and some of the consensuses that have been reached. Getting
this WRTA 2000 passed last year was a pretty big thing. We got to keep that
momentum going. We have got to have commissions of the district, we have got
to have people who keep moving this process forward. The instant we blink and
people let the guard down and slow down with it, you know, the biggest issue we
are going to have probably is going to be funding. We are going to have to figure
out ways through the state and the federal government to make sure that things
continue to be appropriated and that we get the funding we need to do to keep
moving forward with the projects. I mean, we are talking about twenty years at
$400,000[,000] a year.
P: If the economy continues to go bad and they want to make some cuts, they might
W: And the problem is when people know that there is $400,000[,000 per year] out
there being dedicated from both the state and federal levels, a lot of the senators,
congressmen, legislators, who do not have an ax to grind in South Florida, it is a
source to steal money. It is something that South Floridians and the Florida
delegation are going to have to be guarded against for the next twenty years.
P: What is your assessment of Bill Nelson [U.S. senator, D-Florida]? Do you think
he will be supportive of the project?
W: Yes, absolutely. He has been involved enough in Florida politics to know. I think
he knows how important the Everglades and the restoration process is here. I
think you can count on him as being as strong as an advocate as Bob Graham is.
P: Let me go back and talk a little bit about Connie Mack. Obviously, from the
Republic side, without Connie Mack and Bob Smith, senator from New
Hampshire, it would have been almost impossible to get this bill passed, would it
not have been?
W: Will you say that again?
P: Connie Mack obviously influenced the Republicans to support this...
P: ...and without Republican support, particularly Bob Smith, who was chairing the
committee, that probably never would have passed.
W: That is absolutely true. Fortunately, while all this has been going on in the last
eight or ten years, both Connie Mack and Bob Graham, you know, they may
have their differences on other things, but when it came to Everglades, they were
typically in there pitching... I mentioned this earlier, both staffs would typically be
in the room together working towards a common objective with all the parties, for
both Graham and Mack. So I would suspect Nelson is going to be the same way.
P: When you look back over your experience with all of this Everglades business, all
the way back to Sustainable South Florida, what are the most important lessons
you have learned?
W: Two things, and there are probably more than that, but two come to my mind
right away. Number one, you have got to get the parties in the room dealing with
each other on a face-to-face basis, because it is not until you sit down and work
as a group [that you] realize that the person across the table has just as much
wants, desires, whatever, as you do, and you got to satisfy theirs at same time
yours, and it has got to be a give-and-take process like that Governor=s
Commission thing was. It does not work by everybody going off on their own,
trying to influence a legislator to do something; you just do not get things done
that way, and it will not get done the right way. You have got to have a process
set up whereby the parties can somehow vent, negotiate, reach consensus. It
has got to happen, it has got to be an important part. It cannot just be the
agencies meeting and deciding how to do it. Number two, one of the most
important things that has got to happen is education, education of everybody out
there. I mean, the general public, the stakeholders. You know, there are too
many of them who do not understand really how the system works and factually
how it works out there. The sugar industry is one that is a common
misperception. What the agencies found, what the environmentalists found, was
in the early 1990s, they did such a good job at convincing South Florida that, if
they could just get the sugar industry the hell out of here, that the Everglades
would be saved, that when it came time to start convincing them they needed to
fund the re-study, they had a significant problem, because now they had to
educate the public on why it was not just the sugar industry and why the
Everglades was a much bigger problem. It became a significant problem. All the
polls showed that the public was not interested in paying any more than $5 a
year or $10 a year to support Everglades restoration. Well, part of the problem
was, they did not understand that they had as much of a responsibility in what
caused the Everglades problems as the sugar industry or anybody [other South
Floridian]. It is that education-process that has to take place so people
understand, how do we all fit into this ecosystem in South Florida and what is our
P: Plus, in the long term, if we do not have clean water to drink, it is a disaster.
W: Absolutely. The whole part with sustainability was, how do we do water-quality
and what the environment needs and water-supply and all for the urban and
agricultural areas and mix the whole thing together?
P: Who is responsible for that education?
W: All of us, actually. Who is going to do it? I am not sure. That is one of the things
that we have got to tackle. Like I said, the re-study plan or the CERP plan is only
a theoretical plan right now. One of things the Governor=s Commission pointed
out clearly was, we have got to have education, but there were no suggestions
as to how we carry out that education. One thing we have got to do, though, is
we have got to stop allowing the myths to continue about what the problems are,
who caused them and whatever. We have got to start having responsible press,
and we have got to have the agencies reporting on it responsibly and stick to the
P: It seems to me it would be very important, from the point of view of the Task
Force, to have some group do just that, present information B what they have
done, what is next, what studies have shown, the whole process B and let the
public know what is going on, what the problems are [and] how they are dealing
with them because the public, I can tell you, has no idea.
W: Absolutely. I will give you a good for-instance: in a lot of the schools on the east
coast right now, they are in classes doing projects and doing things about sugar
farming in the Everglades and is it bad, is it whatever, and it is almost creating, in
the kids and everybody, this mentality, once again, that sugar-farming is what is
bad for the Everglades, and if you get rid of sugar-farming the Everglades are
safe, and it is the farthest thing from the truth. Like I said before, if you took
sugar-farming and just assumed for a second, totally responsible, we got
everything cleaned up [and] no problem being caused from the EAA, the
Everglades is still doomed. It has got significantly more problems, and the
coastal areas and the urban areas have just as much a part as the sugar farmers
P: Is there anything that we have not touched on and discussed that you would like
to comment on?
W: No. We covered a pretty large waterfront.
P: The only other one little thing that is in the back of my mind, and I cannot
remember why, is your relationship with the Citizens for a Sound Economy. Who
are they, and what kind of relationship do you have with them?
W: I never myself dealt with them, so I do not know...
P: Okay, that is fine.
W: I mean, others did, Buker, whoever at the company. I never got involved much.
P: Never mind, that is fine. Well, on that note, I want to thank you very much for
W: You bet.
[End of Interview.]
Malcolm ABubba@ Wade Jr.
Mr. Wade opens his interview by describing his job responsibilities at U.S. Sugar, as well as how he became
involved in Everglades issues, on page 1. The 1988 federal-state lawsuit concerning the Everglades is treated
at length (page 1-3), as well as the judicial consent decree in response to the lawsuit and the lawsuits
stemming from the 1991 settlement agreement (4-6). Particular attention is paid to the issue of water-quality
standards that triggered much dissension (page 6). Mr. Wade also talks about the science issues, particularly
concerning Curtis Richardson, that became tangled up in Everglades planning (page 7-8).
On page 8-9, Mr. Wade discusses the Everglades Protection District, especially with regard to a 1993
mediation in which the Flo-Sun sugar company broke ranks and signed a separate settlement. This extends
into a discussion of differences and similarities among the sugar-growers (page 9-10), including references to
the Florida Sugercane League (10-11). Mr. Wade responds to criticisms that the Everglades Forever Act too
pro-sugar on page 11-13, noting that sugar is actually one of the lesser agricultural polluters in the Everglades
(13-14). He also comments on the uses of technology that alleviate the effects of this pollution (page 14; see
21-22 for aquifer storage and retrieval), and offers his views on how environmental writers have treated the
sugar companies (page 14-15)
On page 15-16, Mr. Wade touches on the Governor= s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida (which he
had begun earlier) and the proliferation of different environmental groups involved in Everglades restoration
(see also 40-41, particularly about Mary Barley). He shares his thoughts on Nathaniel Reed, environmental
leader, on page 16-17, and discusses the Amendment Four and Five issues that the sugar-growers lobbied
against at length (page 17-20, and the latter particularly in regard to public relations). He also talks about the
Everglades Task Force and its lack of balance (page 21; 24) and the Army Corps of Engineers and Mike
Davis (page 23).
On a more general level, Mr. Wade discusses the problems inherent in unified the disparate interests involved
in resuscitating the Everglades on page 25, and the changes that came about to make such a project thinkable
(page 26-27). He also talks about his criticism of the Everglades plan which he shared in Congressional
testimony (page 27-28), how the plan subordinates economic water-uses (page 28), and his stress on
maintaining fiscal responsibility in Everglades restoration (page 29). He gives his take on Bob Graham,
Connie Mack and Terry Rice and their importance to Everglades restoration on page 30, as well as sugar=s
relationship with the Miccosukee Indians (page 30-31). He also talks about the Talisman Purchase (page 31-
Mr. Wades= opinion on the first priorities for Everglades restoration can be found on page 33. He follows
that with criticisms of flow-ways which are advocated by some environmentalists (page 33-34). He also
converses on the best management practices his company uses (page 34-35), as well as controlled-burning
(page 36), and methyl mercury poisoning (page 36). Page 37 contains his thoughts on the future of sugar-
farming, and page 38-39, the role that land-acquisition will play in restoring the Everglades. On page 39 and
43, he discusses the influence of politics on both the national and state level that impact the restoration efforts.
By the interviews close, he presents his Aprognosis@ for the success of restoration efforts (page 42), his
most important lessons learned from this process (page 43) and the need for responsible education for a larger
public with regard to the complex issues of the Everglades (page 44).