Interviewee: Donald Carson
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: April 24, 2002
G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing Donald Carson at the Florida Crystals
headquarters in West Palm Beach. The date is April 24, 2002. Mr. Carson,
briefly tell me about your professional background, including education and
C: I'm from North Carolina. I was educated in public schools in North Carolina
including the University of North Carolina-undergraduate school and the
University of North Carolina law school. I practiced law with a Wall Street law
firm in New York City prior to coming to Florida. The senior partner of that firm
was a close friend of Alfonso Fanjul, Sr. [founder of Florida Crystals] who was the
father of the current chairman, and that's how I became associated with the
Fanjul family about twenty-five years ago. It was a fairly small, but growing
company then. We produced about 100,000 tons of sugar the first year that I
worked for the Fanjul companies, and today we're producing, if you count our
Dominican and Florida interests, between 2.5 and 3 million tons of sugar.
G: Has your work for this company been primarily in the legal area?
C: Primarily, not in the legal area. Early on, I morphed to the business side of the
company and worked mainly on acquisitions and major corporate projects. I've
always worked with the legal department and continue to do so, but we now have
a fabulous guy who's the general counsel of the company. So, I really don't do
much of a legal nature anymore.
G: What's your current position in the company?
C: I'm Executive Vice-President of Florida Crystals and a director of Florida
Crystals, and I also work closely with the Domino [sugar company] side, the
Domino acquisition, and I'm a director of those companies as well.
G: When did you first become involved with Everglades management-related
C: In the early 1990s, about 1990.
G: How did you become involved with those types of issues?
C: The water issue enlarged and consumed an ever-growing level of the attention at
the management level. I think we felt, in the company, we had to give attention
to it at a higher level and, I guess, I drew the short straw.
G: Based on your experiences, what do you see as being the two or three most
important contributing factors that have led to the present problems in the
C: It depends on how you define problems, but obviously the enormous population
increase and all of the development that is attendant to that impacts every aspect
of our environment, not only in Florida, but everywhere that you have population
increases. Imagine what Manhattan Island would have been like in the early
1600s, or what the San Francisco Bay area was like before it was developed?
The natural system has been impacted in a profound way by us, by everything
we do. Certainly, the Everglades system is impacted by the farming community
and the activity of farming. We're in the middle of it, so we're a part of it.
G: John DeGrove [Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, 1993-]
once characterized the ecological problems in South Florida as the product of
Ainnocent ignorance.@ Would you agree with that characterization?
C: I think so. In our group, we think that the ecosystem and the land that we farm is
our core asset and that anything, on a long term basis, that adversely impacts
the ecosystem or adversely impacts the land itself we want to avoid that. We've
tried to be increasingly sensitive to that and it's a top priority, not only from an
altruistic point of view, but it's business driven. We think that we won't be able to
survive as a business, on a long-term basis, unless we protect the environment
and unless we protect natural assets.
G: Do you think that represents a change on the part of agriculture in general? Has
the agricultural industry become more sensitive perhaps to environmental issues
than say, twenty or thirty years ago?
C: Oh, yeah. Nobody could be honest to you without saying yes to that question.
We also know so much more now than we knew twenty, twenty-five, or thirty
years ago. Thirty years ago, we didn't know anything about nutrient impact to the
natural system, for example. The technology didn't even exist to measure the
nutrient levels that we now are talking about, in terms of setting standards for
nutrient levels and the water that goes into the Everglades. Thirty years ago, we
couldn't measure the levels that are being discussed. Ten parts-per-billion, 14
parts-per-billion, that's like an eye dropper in a swimming pool. How would you
measure that? But the technology has arisen over the course of that time that
allows us not only to determine impact, but then to fashion remedies where we
think things are amiss.
G: To what extent does the current restoration initiative, embodied in the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and other projects, represent a
change from earlier management efforts?
C: The Comprehensive Plan is the first time that we have attempted to deal broadly
with the water supply issue. Up to the time of the Comprehensive Plan we were
addressing, and when I say, we, I mean everybody who has a stake in this, the
government, the environmental community, the business community, we
addressed issues on almost an anecdotal basis without really looking at the
problem on a more global basis and addressing the issue of the flaws that
appear to be inherent in the system that was designed originally by the Corps of
Engineers as you said, with ignorant innocence. In the early part of the century
and in the middle of the 20th century, there were enormous public works projects
undertaken using a system and technology that was the best we had at that time.
The idea was to drain the Everglades, to drain the swamp, and we succeeded
beyond our wildest imaginations and now we have schools and shopping centers
and condos and golf courses all over the place where the alligators used to
wallow and wading birds used to walk around. In doing that, we took colossal
amounts of water that used to flow through the natural system and dump that out
to tide through the St. Lucie, the Caloosahatchee, and then the various artificial
canals that have been built to drain that system. So, the Comprehensive Plan is
the first time that we take a look at the way we designed the system and are
trying to correct the things that, with hindsight and experience, appear to have
G: I'm struck by the use of your term we. Is there a real sense now that everyone is
working together, and how much degree of agreement is there amongst the
various players that are involved in this process?
C: I think there's a very high level of agreement. If not for that, then I don't think the
Comprehensive Plan would have been possible, you couldn't have gotten it
through the Congress. The Comprehensive Plan passed the Congress with the
combined support of the environmental community and the farming and business
community. The environmental community has a vital role to play in our modern
society because they keep us focused on the needs of terra firma, this watery
ball that we all exist on, floating through space. That's a very important role
because when you're running a business and your day-to-day pressure is
primarily on providing a way of life for the people who are associated with the
business, which can only be done if you take in more money that you pay out in
expenses, then sometimes it's not your primary focus, the needs of the
environment. In my view, that's a vital role and it's a proper one. I'm glad we
G: Do you think ten years ago you could have used that term Awe?@ Was there
that community then, that you believe is there now?
C: I think we all understand each other and know each other much better than we
did then. In some of the earlier episodes, there were elections involved and
candidacies involved, and there were rhetorical excesses. People who didn't
know each other were suspicious of each other, and I think that is much less the
case today, than it would have been ten years ago. I know that as I got
acquainted on a personal basis with people in the environmental community,
without exception, there have been people that I've enjoyed on a personal level.
We'll have dinner together and gossip about all the people we know and they
may say something nasty about us in the press the very next day, but we all get
the joke at this point, and I think we understand better the role that they have to
play, and I think they understand that we're not a bunch of robber-barons. They
see with their own eyes what we've done to improve the way that we farm in an
environmentally sensitive way. People can't go and look at things like the
Okeelanta Coal Generation Power Plant and see the amount of stuff that would
otherwise just be piled up in a landfill, that is being turned now into electricity in a
way that uses less water and reduces environmental air emissions with state-of-
the-art boilers and electrostatic precipitators, and all the other environmental
controls that would be on state-of-the-art equipment. People can't go and see
that kind of stuff that didn't exist ten years ago and not be impressed. People
have to say, gosh, these guys are trying, they're making an enormous effort here.
G: To the extent that change has occurred as reflected in the current South Florida
Project, are there any specific turning points or watershed events that you would
point to as having been critical for promoting that change?
C: Within our group, we had a watershed in the early 1990s. Our chairman, Alfie
Fanjul came to feel that the adversarial litigation format in which this whole
environmental issue had, in effect, back-slid. The issue sort of slid downhill,
backwards, into just an absolute morass of litigation and unpleasant rhetoric and
PR campaigns. He is the one in our group who made the decision that, long-
term, we had to be part of the solution, and that long-term we had to farm on a
sustainable basis, and that we were prepared to invest major corporate assets in
identifying the problem and then paying whatever could be fairly judged as our
impact to paying that part of whatever the remedy would be. That was a crucial
decision and that kind of decision can only be made at the top. That's what the
CEO does. After that became articulated in a very clear and dramatic way as the
corporate policy that the Florida Crystals group was going to follow going
forward, then I think that everything else, at least for this organization, flowed
from that decision.
G: In October of 1988, US Attorney Dexter Lehtinen [U.S. Attorney, Dade County,
1988-1992] filed a lawsuit against the South Florida Water Management District,
State Department of Environmental Regulation. What was your reaction and the
reaction within the sugar industry to that lawsuit?
C: Well, we were unhappy about it. We didn't know Dexter Lehtinen and we had
some very aggressive lawyers who were very, very good at what they do. We
had the instinct to reach out to Dexter Lehtinen and Carol Browner [administrator
of the Environmental Protection Agency, 1993-2001] and Suzan Ponzoli
[assistant U.S. Attorney, Department of Justice, Southern District of Florida], and
when we proposed to do that, lawyers would react in a very negative way and
really talk us out of doing that. Eventually, we just overrode the lawyers. The
delightful surprise was that when you got into a room with a Dexter Lehtinen or a
Carol Browner or a Suzan Ponzoli, and there were no reporters and nobody
hanging around, and you started talking about what the real concerns were and
how the issues should be solved, these were people just like us. Dexter is, I
don't know if you've interviewed Dexter, but Dexter is so incredibly bright and so
knowledgeable on all this stuff. We work very closely with him today.
Ten years ago, if you said, you guys will be joined at the hip with Dexter
Lehtinen working on the same stuff and meeting frequently just to sort out and
make sure you're on the same page, and you'll be pushing the same
environmental agenda, people around here would think you're on crack; but it's
happened. Suzan Ponzoli became a great friend of mine. She has a great
family. I haven't been in touch with her in a few years, but Suzan and I would
meet, not in secret, but we'd meet privately and not tell anyone and exchange
views about how we could reduce the level of litigation activity. She was
indispensable in getting the litigation settled, what evolved into the Everglades
Forever Act [1994 law that mandated Stormwater Treatment Areas], and so was
G: In 1998, at the same time that this litigation was proceeding, the South Florida
Water Management District introduced the SWIM [Surface Water Improvement
Management Act] plan for improving water quality in the Everglades. What was
your evaluation of the SWIM process and the proposals that the Water
Management District was making?
C: I think that the SWIM process was a process that we were a part of initially, and I
think our energy at the time was to make sure that there was a way to evaluate
surface water management needs fairly. We anticipated that some capital
projects would be required, and I think we were apprehensive that we might
become targets and be treated unfairly. I think that fairness is what we've had
the most energy on. I don't think I've ever once been in any council meeting or in
any session where people were trying to figure out how to keep polluting, or to do
anything that was in anyway destructive to the environment. I think the people
that I've been associated with, have always had a high level of energy on doing
things in environmentally friendly ways.
G: How much do you think the SWIM process eventually contributed to the
settlement in the litigation and the development of the Everglades Forever Act, if
C: I think that somebody like Phil Parsons would give a better answer to that.
Maybe George Wedgworth would give a more knowledgeable answer to that.
My perception, is that the wave of developments just sort of overwhelmed the
SWIM process and it was kind of swept along in what happened with the federal
lawsuit and the Everglades settlement and then the Everglades Forever Act, and
the building of the projects. The SWIM legislation was certainly the beginning
and it's what focused people on surface-water management issues.
G: In September of 1990, Governor Bob Martinez [Florida governor, 1987-1991]
organized a closed door meeting to deal with Everglades water quality issues
that led to a temporary compromise that would have provided that sugar growers
contribute $40 million to Everglades cleanup based on taxes levied on its
members. Why did the sugar growers later back away from that agreement?
C: My memory is not that the sugar growers backed away from the agreement. I
think the sugar growers were prepared to move forward. I think I was in the
meeting you're referring to. I think that sugar growers were prepared to go
forward with that meeting. The environmental community reacted adversely to
that approach almost immediately and it came apart at the seams, I don't think
that really ever got any legs.
G: So that was never a firm agreement that would have limited sugar liability to $40
million at that time?
C: At the time, we might have thought that or we might have been agreeable to that.
I don't think we knew very much at that time about what it took to get a firm
agreement and how many players would have to be involved before you did
something that really worked.
G: In July 1991, the federal and state agencies involved with the lawsuit initiated by
Dexter Lehtinen reached its settlement agreement. Why did the sugar industry
oppose this federal-state agreement in the accompanying consent decree?
C: I'm going to defer to people who are much more familiar with the technical legal
issues. There was litigation that ensued as a result of that settlement and the
sugar industry litigated with the federal government and with the Water
Management District. Our company settled that litigation and before you leave I'll
give you a copy of the settlement agreement, but Florida Crystals is no longer
part of that litigation and it's the only company that settled that litigation. We
don't like the litigation way of solving problems. I think that the process that the
CERP [Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan] went through is a much
more effective model. When you try to settle these things in litigation, it's
incredibly expensive and there's a lot of gaining that goes on that really does not
advance the cause.
G: At the time, however, when the federal state agreement was reached, the Flo-
Sun Corporation, [former name of Crystal Sugar] as it was called then, didn't
support that agreement did it?
C: I think that that's right, we didn't support the agreement.
G: Do you recall the reasons for the opposition?
G: How involved were you with the process of negotiations that led to the Statement
of Principles agreement announced by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in July of
C: I was part of a group that worked on that along with Buddy MacKay [Florida
Lieutenant Governor 1991-1998] and Bonnie Cohen [undersecretary for
management, U.S. State Department, 1997-2001; Assistant U.S. Secretary of the
Interior, 1993-1997]. I think they were sort of the co-chairs of the effort and there
were representatives from the other sugar companies who were key to that
process as well. People from U.S. Sugar, Bob Buker [senior vice president, U.S.
Sugar Corporation] was very involved in that. Nelson Fairbanks [president and
CEO U.S. Sugar Corporation] was very involved in that. In our company, Dr.
Peter Rosendal who has since passed away was a very key player in that.
George Wedgworth was a key player in that.
G: Could you describe that process of negotiation? What were the issues that were
C: We were discussing a level of financial contribution from the industry and we
were discussing quantities of land that would be dedicated to stormwater
treatment and where those lands would be located. I think those were the central
issues. This process went on for a year, so there were a lot of issues including
nutrient levels and targets for various nutrient levels at various points in time.
G: From the perspective of Flo-Sun, what were the positive aspects of the statement
of principles agreement?
C: The positive aspect was the perception that we finally had something that was
specific and that, although probably imperfect, was something that would
advance the cause of nutrient reduction and reduction of farming impact on the
natural system in a very dramatic way, and something that was supported by a
broad enough coalition of stakeholders that it could actually be implemented and
fortunately, that perception turned out to be true. What was arisen from that
Statement of Principles, as far as I know, is the largest capital project ever
undertaken in this country exclusively for environmental purposes.
G: Why did that Statement of Principles agreement fall apart in the fall of that year?
C: I don't think it did fall apart because ultimately, that Statement of Principles, the
key features of it became the Everglades Forever Act, and the Everglades
Forever Act has been implemented and continues to be implemented while we're
having this interview.
G: But there was a case where, in the fall of that year, the sugar companies kind of
backed away from that agreement. They had some concerns about that
agreement. Do you recall what those concerns were and why, at least for awhile,
that agreement seemed to fall apart?
C: I don't recall the specifics of that. I think that in our organization, I don't think that
we ever backed off the Statement of Principles. I think that once we signed that,
and Alfie Fanjul and Bruce Babbitt had a meeting just before the press
conference that announced the principles agreement, I forgot how it was headed,
but at that meeting, I remember Alfie saying to the secretary that we really were
very, very enthusiastic about pursuing this and that we thought that it could have
a major constructive impact on the natural system and we were excited about
being part of it. Secretary Babbitt said, that it would be the largest restorative
project ever undertaken in the history of the natural park system in the United
States, and he was, likewise, very enthusiastic about it. He told Alfie Fanjul that
not everyone was going to like it, and that there might be some who liked the
issue more than the solution, and I remember his words. He said, I'm going to
plant my feet squarely behind this agreement and I'm not going to change; I'm
not going to back down. It was sort of a handshake and both of them, by the
way, to the best of my knowledge, both of them have been absolutely true to that
eyeball-to-eyeball exchange that they had before that news conference took
G: How directly involved has the Fanjul family been in dealing with these types of
Everglades related issues?
C: They've been very involved and very supportive. The negotiations that you are
referring to involved very substantial financial commitments from the company
and they were constantly aware of everything that was going on.
G: Were they actually directly involved in these types of negotiations?
C: Directly involved, yes. I can remember being in touch with Alfie Fanjul and Pepe
Fanjul and Alex Fanjul and Andres Fanjul, they are the key owners in the
company. I can remember being in touch with them almost constantly during the
course of those discussions. They were very concerned and very involved in
this, it's their money.
G: Have they continued that level of involvement in the events that have happened
C: Oh yeah. They're constantly briefed. This remains a key part of the corporate
focus. Alfie Fanjul can discuss these issues with you very fluently, [he's] much
more articulate than I am.
G: In early 1994, the Flo-Sun Corporation reached its own agreement with the
Department of Interior that you mentioned earlier settling the litigation. Why did
Flo-Sun decide to go its own way and break from some of the other sugar
companies in reaching a separate agreement?
C: We didn't consider it a break with the other sugar companies. We thought that at
the time, this was a role that we could play. Even though there was no
understanding, we felt that we were in a position to go forward in a way perhaps
that they were not because of other considerations they had, but we also felt
confident that the agreement that we crafted would ultimately be supported by
our colleagues in the sugar industry and that turned out to be the case. We were
in constant touch with them even though they were not part of the formal
agreement. We decided to do that as part of the policy that Alfie made as we
started down that road. The goal always was we are going to be part of the
solution, and we are going to put our money where our mouth is, and we are
going to have a company that operates on a sustainable basis, and we are going
to protect our core asset.
G: What did that agreement provide for?
C: It provided for an end to the litigation so far as the United States and the Florida
Crystals group, or the Flo-Sun group, was concerned and it contemplated that
the basic elements of that agreement would be submitted to the Florida
legislature, and the legislature would be invited to make that law in Florida. We
agreed that Florida Crystals and the full resources of the federal government
would support those principles becoming part of Florida law. In Babbitt's words,
this would be the federal government's plan for restoring the Everglades or at
least for addressing the nutrient element of that restoration. We agreed, and I
don't remember the exact dollars, but we agreed to provide a certain level of
funding. There was a provision in that agreement, under which we would have
paid those funds directly to the Secretary of the Interior, in the event that the
legislature failed to pass the contemplated legislation.
G: Did the legislature followup and pass that legislation?
C: That became the Everglades Forever Act.
G: How would you evaluate the Everglades Forever Act?
C: I think the Everglades Forever Act has succeeded to a far greater degree than
we anticipated. The effectiveness of the stormwater treatment area has
exceeded everybody's expectations. I think that it is an incredible success. I
think that in ten, 20 years from now, the environmental community will point to
the nutrient removal effort and to the capital projects that were installed to reduce
nutrient impacts in the Everglades; they'll point to that as one of the great
successes of the 20th century. It will be regarded as a historic achievement.
G: How important was the contribution of Governor Chiles [Lawton Chiles, Florida
governor 1991-1998 (died in office)], both to the process of settling the litigation
and bringing about the approval of the Everglades Forever Act?
C: Indispensable. Governor Chiles had the vision. He understood the big picture,
he understood where we had to go. The guy who shared that vision and then
who grappled with all the details was Buddy MacKay. The other person who has
been visionary in the whole Everglades, South Florida ecosystem restoration is
G: How would you characterize her contribution?
C: Carol was very, very articulate and knowledgeable in the management of the
state's side of the issue. Carol was really involved up to her neck in the details
until she became the director of the EPA. Carol helped sort of kick things off
after Babbitt became the Secretary of the Interior by setting up some key
meetings early on so that Babbitt got immersed in what was going on in the
Everglades. Because of the fact that she had been the DEP director in Florida
then, her staff told her that she was conflicted, so she had to back out of the
detailed negotiations. I would count her as one of the people who understood
the big picture, who understood where we had to go, and who had pretty darn
good instincts when she had to make key decisions about how to proceed. One
of the key decisions that she made [end of TAPE A: SIDE 1] was to try to craft a
negotiated solution. Then she participated actively in that effort, which was
enormously time consuming, and there were enormous numbers of people to
consult with and to keep happy. If you're the head of the DEP, the environmental
community is your natural constituency, or they're you're primary constituency
and it's not like that's a monolithic group. They have their own personalities and
people have differing views and so it's a big effort just to try to arrive at a
consensus among that group just like in the sugar group; it's not that easy to
arrive at a consensus.
G: Marjory Stoneman Douglas [Florida environmental activist; author of The
EvergladesBRiver of Grass] refused to put her name on the Everglades Forever
Act. Why were many environmental groups, along with the Miccosukee tribe
[part of Seminole Nation], so critical of this agreement at the time it was enacted?
C: I don't know.
G: Fair enough. How would you characterize or what is your reaction to the
continuing litigation that the Miccosukee tribe and others have been involved with
in relation to the Everglades Forever Act?
C: I don't follow that litigation, [and] don't have a high level of interest in it. We have
some lawyers who track what's going on with that. It's very hard to end those
processes, to get them out of a federal court. Once you get in front of a federal
judge, and he gets himself immersed in a piece of litigation like that, and he's had
people that he has to take seriously stand in front of him and say your honor, the
Everglades is dying and you can save the Everglades. It's very hard for, I think,
a federal judge to say, well golly, I see all this stuff going on and these capital
projects and enormous progresses being made here and I know a lot of money is
being spent on this, [but] I think I'm just going to dismiss this case now. But I
think that that's relatively inactive.
G: Some critics have asserted that the sugar industry should pay more than the
one-third of the cost that it is committed to pay for implementing the first phase of
the Everglades Forever Act. How do you respond to that criticism?
C: As I mentioned, one of the key things that was negotiated during the process of
our settlement with the Interior Department and with the Everglades Forever Act
was the financial commitment of the agriculture community, which has really
been very substantial. There was a formula for determining what our share of
the cleanup was, and very serious people who had an adversarial relationship
with us, negotiated with us, and we arrived at a formula; the purpose of which
was to determine what our share of the impact was. We're paying that. We've
met all of our financial obligations and we're paying our share of that impact. I
think that's our biggest concern, that we're treated fairly, and we're not the only
thing that has impacted the Everglades obviously, the population growth and
developments, what's happened north of the lake, all of those have had profound
impacts. So, I think rightly we feel that we should not be financially responsible
for those impacts. We feel very good about what we're paying, we think it's been
G: How was that formula arrived at? What was involved in that process of
calculating what the impact was?
C: Now you've exhausted my memory. I just honestly don't remember the details. I
would have to do a lot of preparation to resurrect that, resurrect the details of
G: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, along with Governor Jeb
Bush, recently expressed its support for a ten parts-per-billion phosphorous
standard for water quality entering the Everglades. In your view, is the ten parts-
per-billion standard justified?
C: I don't think that's completely understood. I think that we support a level of
nutrient loading that will really make the farming community benign to the
Everglades system south of the Everglades Agricultural Area. You can be
discussing a long time whether that's ten or fifteen or twenty parts-per-billion
because we're discussing such minute quantities of nutrients that that's hard to
narrow down with that precision. The environmental community has been saying
ten parts-per-billion for so long that that's become sort of etched in our minds. I
wouldn't be surprised if ten parts-per-billion is the number that we end up with.
G: What would be the negative cost of going with the ten parts-per-billion standard?
Is there some reason that the sugar company, Florida Crystals, would not want to
see a ten parts-per-billion standard?
C: Whatever's done, whatever number is used, will be subject to whatever
technology exists. You can't do more than you can do. I think that we will arrive
at a reasonable approach to that, and I think as much will be done as can be
G: The Everglades Forever Act also required the use of best-management
practices. In practical terms, what does that mean for the way sugar is produced
in the Everglades Agricultural Area?
C: I think that among other things, it means that we irrigate and drain the land on
different schedules than we used to. We reduced pumping to a minimum. We've
discovered that if we have heavy rains, we can leave the water in the fields
longer than we once thought. That we can pump out at different rates than we
once thought. That we can use less fertilizer if we apply the fertilizer using
different methods at different times and in different concentrations. All of that is
about reducing the level of nutrients that actually gets to the bottom end of the
G: How successful have those efforts been so far?
C: I think they've been very successful. I think that we reduced the level of nutrients
that are going into the Everglades by about seventy-five percent.
G: What was your reaction to the effort by the Save Our Everglades group in 1996
to enact a Constitutional Amendment, Amendment 4, that would have imposed a
penny-per-pound tax on sugar production to raise funds for Everglades
C: We thought that was a rather unfortunate episode, it's a bit like litigation. It
becomes a public relations litigation battle and enormous amounts of money are
spent by both sides and probably there are features of the campaign that neither
side likes, running a TV ad showing a dead deer. I doubt they're proud of that.
And our PR campaign, I remember one of the ads we ran showed the Water
Management District building and we had limousines and airplanes and so forth,
and the implication was that these taxes were being applied unfairly and the
money was being squandered with all kinds of excessive expenses. That's what
happens in a political campaign and it doesn't advance the cause. I think the
processes we have now are having a much more real impact. The penny tax
campaign accomplished nothing. Tens of millions of dollars were squandered on
that campaign for nothing.
G: Why was Florida Crystals opposed to that amendment specifically?
C: The power to tax is the power to destroy, and for an industry or a business to be
singled out in that way, we were convinced that that was the path to oblivion. A
penny is a great slogan, but that was an enormous amount of money.
G: Did you have a sense that the sugar industry was being unfairly treated, in that
you just reached this agreement on the Everglades Forever Act and committed to
making this money, and then this comes along? Was there a sense that oh, here
we go again?
C: I think there was a greater sense that it was an activity that would not advance
the cause of Everglades restoration. Obviously, we were very fearful. We had to
fight that with all our resources because we thought it would be very destructive
to our business. I think there was just a sense of regret that that level of talent,
effort, and resources would be spent on that kind of contest.
G: Combined, the two sides involved in the debate over Amendment 4 spent more
money than any other political campaign in Florida history. Why did it become
such a bitter and expensive campaign?
C: I think again it's one of those instances where people had misperceptions about
how the other side would react. In the environmental community, there may
have been a lack of understanding of the financial impact of a penny-a-pound tax
on the sugar industry or how that would be perceived in the sugar community. I
think that it was just misperceptions. The level of threat that that would
represent to us was misperceived.
G: How difficult was it to get past that bitterness and rebuild a working relationship
with the environmental community in moving forward with dealing with the
C: I can't speak for them. From our point of view, we look on that as an unfortunate
episode, like the litigation was an unfortunate episode. We think it's a poor way
to advance the cause of environmental restoration. We have made, and
continue to do so, to reach out to the environmental community and try to
understand their concerns and to work with them. Thom Rumberger [chairman,
The Everglades Trust] is a good guy, he's an easy guy to be with. He's a very
bright guy, has a vast knowledge and good understanding of environmental
issues. After Dr. [Peter] Rosendal got sick, we had a dinner for him, and we had
key people in the environmental community sitting at tables with our farm
managers and with Andres Fanjul and Pepe Fanjul and me. I think the
relationships are vastly improved.
G: Why did the sugar industry focus its efforts on defeating Amendment 4 while
largely ignoring Amendment 5, the so-called Polluter Pays Amendment which
C: I think that it was because Amendment 4 was what we thought was the greater
evil and we wanted to make sure that we used all our efforts to defeat
G: When asked why a bill to implement Amendment 5 was defeated in the State
Senate in 1997, State Senator Jack Lavala of Clearwater blamed the Apolitical
heft of the sugar industry.@ How do you respond to such critics who suggest
that the sugar industry uses its financial muscle to gain undo political influence?
C: I don't respond to those assertions.
G: Do you think it's a valid criticism?
G: Do you think that's misperception on their part?
C: Obviously, we go to the legislature just as the environmental community does
and we have our views, and we express those views and sometimes they agree
with our views and sometimes they agree with the views of others. I think there's
a fairly broad feeling in the community that the agricultural community in the EAA
[Everglades Agricultural Area] has made an extraordinary effort to address
environmental issues, and to pay a fairly calculated or a fairly determined share.
I don't know that that's a precise mathematical science, but what's been done is
basically fair, and that what the agricultural community is doing from a financial
point of view is a fair contribution and is a fair representation of their portion of
the impact on the natural system. If there was not that feeling in the community
that that's being done, then you wouldn't have the legislative outcome that you
are referring to. If there was [outrage] in the community and editorials
[appeared] in the newspapers every three days about how the sugar industry is
getting off with no significant contribution to cleaning up the Everglades, then
you'd have a totally different outcome. I think there's a broad feeling in the
community that what is being done is fair and that the financial responsibility has
been fairly allocated.
G: Citing problems with soil loss, a recent U.S. Geological Survey report concluded
that Aagriculture as currently practiced in the Everglades has a finite life
expectancy, likely on the order of decades.@ How long can sugar production be
effectively sustained in the Everglades agricultural area?
C: We believe for generations to come. We don't agree with those soil subsidence
calculations. I'm not qualified to go into detail, but there are practices that we
have implemented that inhibit soil subsidence. Who has a greater interest in
retarding the soil subsidence than we do? We expect to be around for a long,
G: Are there any specific examples that you could give of what Florida Crystals in
particular is trying to do to combat that issue?
C: We rotate with rice because when you flood the fields, it inhibits soil subsidence
and we're experimenting with various ways of putting materials back into the soil
that it would otherwise be disposed of just to replenish soil debts.
G: Conservation groups have often criticized the federal sugar subsidy, recently
stating that the continuation of the subsidy will do Aprofound and significant harm
to the Everglades and increase sugar prices.@ How do you respond to these
C: The U.S. sugar industry advocates the elimination of all governmental programs
that restrict free trade on sugar. The existing sugar program in the United States
is designed to protect domestic sugar farmers, as we do with other commodities,
from subsidized foreign imports. In a world in which we have free trade on sugar,
there are no trade barriers in any countries, the U.S. would be a major sugar
producer and a major sugar exporter because our costs, specifically our costs of
producing sugar in South Florida, are in the lower 25 percent of costs of
production around the world. We're very, very efficient at producing sugar here.
What we can't compete with is producers who sell in a protected domestic
market as European farmers do, and then are encouraged with subsidies to
produce millions of tons of sugar more than what they consume in the European
Community. When that sugar is exported into the trash market, where sugar
goes that has no domestic home, they receive a direct cash subsidy from their
government. We can compete with European farmers. We can compete with
Belgian and French sugar farmers. We're as efficient or more efficient than they
are, but we can't compete with the French treasury.
G: After a ten year effort, the federal government in 1998 was able to move forward
with the purchase of the Talisman land holdings from the St. Joe Corporation
[paper company]. Why did Florida Crystals, along with the Sugarcane Growers
Cooperative file a lawsuit to prevent this sale?
C: The outcome of that lawsuit was a trade of some of the Talisman lands for the
lands that are really needed. The outcome of that was that the federal
government ended up with the land that is really needed for environmental
restoration and I think that all the litigation succeeded in doing was to provide a
framework in which that negotiation could take place. I know that those
negotiations have been going on for a long time. It's one of those moments
where you have to have broad consensus in order to get anything done. The
settlement of that litigation provided the framework in which that could be done.
G: You mentioned earlier that generally, you don't believe litigation serves a useful
purpose in moving negotiations forward. Why did you feel in this instance, it's
necessary to go to the courts?
C: I thought that we were going to slide backwards just because of inaction into a
situation where the government owned land that it didn't really need and we
would still be in possession of lands that were needed for restoration and we
would have a lengthy condemnation process. I thought that litigation and others,
including George [Wedgworth?], felt as well that the litigation against the sale of
the Talisman property, which was based on their failure to do an environmental
impact study, that that was a much lesser evil than going through years of
condemnation litigation. You can only be right or wrong with the benefit of 20/20
hindsight, but I think there's a pretty good consensus at this point, that that trade
was a good thing.
G: Would you describe the process of negotiations that eventually led to the
settlement of the Talisman issue?
C: There were very talented people involved on that. On the federal side, they had
a guy named Buff Bowlin, and he was a retired State Department civil-servant,
very, very sharp guy. The South Florida Water Management District, Mitchell
Berger in particular, played a key role at the end in getting that done. I think he
had the confidence of George Frampton [chair, Council on Environmental
Quality, 1998-2001; Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and
Parks, 1993-1997] and Vice President Gore, those guys had to sign off on that.
At that level, how immersed in the details can they be? So, they have to rely on
people that they trust. People like Bowlin, Frampton and Mitch Berger deserve
an enormous amount of credit for getting something done that was very complex.
Now they have the land they need. When they need to build these projects, the
land is no longer an issue.
G: How important was the involvement of Governor Chiles in the settlement
C: Which settlement process?
G: The Talisman issue.
C: Governor Chiles was one of the people who from the beginning saw the vision of
the trades. Governor Chiles always wanted those land trades to be done. There
was a guy named Jack Peoples who was in the confidence of Governor Chiles,
who was also very immersed in the details of the trade. Buddy MacKay was
immersed in the detail of that and spent an enormous amount of time and effort
working on it.
G: How important was the creation of the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable
South Florida by Lawton Chiles in 1994?
C: The Governor's Commission provided a framework in which the stakeholders
could become better acquainted, could share views in a more tranquil
environment. Dick Pettigrew [chair, Governor's Commission for a Sustainable
South Florida], a very talented, very capable guy, and very successful at bringing
people together who had at a previous time had an adversarial relationship. I
think the creation of the Governor's Commission was a very important element in
moving Everglades restoration from an adversarial scene to a community effort
where everybody is involved on a positive and proactive basis.
G: Malcolm Wade [senior vice president, U.S. Sugar Corporation] from the U.S.
Sugar Corporation was a member of that commission as a representative of the
sugar industry, but the Flo-Sun Corporation didn't have its own representation on
that commission. At the time, did you feel that Flo-Sun's interests were being
fairly represented on the Chiles Commission?
C: Malcolm Wade, when he was there, he was our representative as well as U.S.
Sugar's representative and we thought very highly of his appointment. We were
consulted in advance of his appointment and we supported his appointment. I
later served on the commission as well, but we didn't feel anyway slighted by
that. He's a very, very talented guy. We couldn't have had a better spokesman.
G: Why do you think that commission was able to generate so much consensus? It
produced a conceptual plan in 1996 that all the members signed on to. How was
it able to achieve that?
C: I think that Dick Pettigrew worked very hard, worked tirelessly at understanding
everybody's point of view. He was able to get people to grapple with the issues
without the rhetorical fireworks and without the grandstanding in the newspapers.
That commission made an enormous contribution. The other group that made
an enormous contribution was, there was a technical advisory group in which Dr.
Peter Rosendal was a key player. The specific details of what would be done
and where, that was all crafted out by that group. That was a group that
everybody had a lot of confidence in. The Water Management District had
people there, the environmental community had people there, Tom MacVicar
[former deputy director of the South Florida Water Management District] was a
big contributor to that effort along with Pete Rosendal and others. There's been
less controversy about the size of the stormwater treatment areas and where
they were going to be and what pumps were going to be involved and volumes
because all that was worked out by people who knew about those things and that
everybody trusted. Pete Rosendal, for example, he was trusted within the
environmental community. The guy was a straight shooter and they knew that
when he said something, he was not only being forthright with them, but had a
vast knowledge [of the topic]. He started out working for the Everglades National
G: You remember Jeb Bush's Governor's Commission for the Everglades is that
G: How would you compare Chiles' Commission to Governor Bush's Commission?
C: I think that we're at a much more advanced stage in the process now. I think
there's less for Governor Bush's Commission to do than there was for the Chiles
Commission to do in the early days. I think there really is a pretty broad
community consensus at this point on what needs to be done.
G: What then, has been the function of the Bush Commission?
C: To make sure that things keep moving, that nobody drops the ball.
G: Do you think it's been effective in that respect?
G: In general, how would you characterize the working relationship between the
sugar companies, particularly as it applies to Everglades management issues?
C: I think that we've all been cheek-by-jowl. Alfie Fanjul has had a wonderful vision
that has guided the details of this group on the specifics of Everglades
restoration. He and George Wedgworth have been friends for 50 years and I
don't think there's ever been any important disagreement about the broad
approach. U.S. Sugar has had very talented people involved every step of the
way. Bubba Wade has been a key player in this and he's been a great
representative at U.S. Sugar and has had a high level of responsibility about that.
Bob Buker was a guy that was very interested and who had the same view that
we do over here, that we want to be part of the solution, Nelson Fairbanks
G: What is the purpose of the Florida Sugarcane League?
C: The Florida Sugarcane League is our trade association.
G: Does that league at all provide any coordination mechanisms for dealing with
these types of political issues or is it more of a business directed association?
G: How would you evaluate the restudy process that led to the development of the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan?
C: I thought it was a very successful process. In the end, when you had the farming
community and the environmental community both advocating passage of the
same piece of legislation, that's fairly remarkable. I think that's something that
would not have happened ten years ago.
G: How involved were you personally in that process, either in the development
stage or in working to get the legislation passed in Congress?
C: I was involved. I think George Dominesis by that time was much more the point
guy along with Pete. Pete was out front on that issue as well and then Pete
became ill and a lot of the things that Pete was doing fell on George, and George
has handled it magnificently. George is also a trustee of the Everglades
Environmental Protection District now, represents us there. The most talented
people in all the organizations have worked on this issue, and I think that's the
reason for its success is because at Sugarcane Growers Cooperative and at U.S.
Sugar, and at Florida Crystals there's been that level of commitment to getting
G: Were the views of Florida Crystals and the sugar industry in general, given
adequate consideration by the Corps of Engineers during the restudy process?
C: I think we've had good access to everybody that we needed access to.
G: Why was the Chief's report, written by Lieutenant General Joe Ballard
[commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1996-2000], that
accompanied the Comprehensive Plan to Congress so controversial?
C: There are others who are more qualified to discuss the details of that, but I think
that the Chief's letter differed in very substantial ways from the plan that had
been agreed to as the outcome of a very lengthy process in which all the
stakeholders were involved. I think when the Chief's letter deviated in important
ways from the outcome of that process, then the Chief's letter, I think, caught
G: What specifically was it about what the Chiefs report said that you may have
been opposed to?
C: I think that I'm going to let you interview George to get into the details of that or
Phil Parsons or we can designate others. I know about that stuff sort of, but I'm
[not] going to embarrass myself with an incomplete understanding of the details.
G: Let me move to the legislative phase. As the Comprehensive Plan was
submitted to Congress, and Congress began debating legislation to put that plan
into action, what were the primary concerns that Florida Crystals had during that
C: In the CERP process?
G: Once CERP had been submitted to Congress and Congress was developing
legislation in the form of the Water Resources Development Act 2000, were there
any concerns that Florida Crystals had as that legislative process was unfolding?
C: I think our primary concern was to make sure that adequate preparation is made
and that adequate investigations are conducted, so that when you really started
to spend the big bucks, you have a high level of confidence that it's going to
work. I think that's where we are. We want to make sure that whatever's done
G: Could you talk a little bit about the effort to try and get that legislation passed?
C: The person who was on the ground doing that is George Dominesis and I think
that he's much better qualified. He's the guy who spent the time in Washington.
That's about the time we were working on the Domino acquisition as well. Not
everyone can work on everything on the same time.
G: How would you characterize the effort by all the different players involved? Many
people have described this as a unique time where sugar, environment, state,
the Corps, that it all kind of came together. Was there a real sense that
everybody was on the same page and working towards the same thing? Or,
were there still areas of disagreement as you went through the legislative
C: I think from the time that negotiations for the Principles Agreement, from the time
that process got started, it became a much more collegial effort. I can remember
being in the secretary's dining room at the Department of the Interior with pizza
boxes all over the table and with the Secretary of Interior coming in and out, with
the Lieutenant Governor of Florida there, with key people in the Justice
Department and senior executives from every sugar company all in the same
room trying to advance the same ball. And not just once, but week after week
with Buddy MacKay in particular, with all he had to do, devoting his time going to
Washington and sitting in those discussions for days at the time. I think that was
a unique time and a unique effort.
G: How would you evaluate the final plan that was approved in the Water Resources
Development Act of 2000? [end of TAPE A: SIDE 2]
C: I think it's the outcome of the best collective thinking of the best people we have.
We're proud to have been a part of it and we're actively participating in the
G: How confident are you that as, CERP gets implemented, it's going to correct the
problems that are in the Everglades now?
C: I think that we're really very confident that it's going to advance the cause of
environmental restoration. It confronts the issue which had not been confronted
before, and that's the issue of overall water supply. How do we add water back
to the system? That's indispensable. You can talk about water quality all you
want and if there's no water, then what difference does it make how much
nutrients it has in it? It attacks that problem. We're going to learn as we go. Not
everything that is done is likely to be perfect. There's some aspects of the plan
that are still in the developmental stage. It's an iterative process, it has to be, but
it represents a dramatic community commitment to do something and to devote
major resources to it. I think it's historic, it's indispensable. We have to do it.
The generations ahead of us will look back kindly on us I think, for having done it.
G: Do you think CERP does enough in terms of meeting the needs of the
agricultural community as well as providing for the interests of the urban
environment and the natural environment?
C: It provides a framework in which all those interests can be fairly treated.
G: As the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan moves forward, how should
we evaluate its success or failure?
C: If it's successful, there will be more water and the quality of the water will
improve. [Also,] the system will have a greater adherence to our perception of the
way it was before all the development and all the diking and ditch-digging took
G: Some people question whether or not restoration is even the right word to use
here. Is it really possible to restore the Everglades, is that what we're talking
about here? Or are we aiming at something that's different than that?
C: Man has managed his environment and bent his environment to his purposes
from primeval times. I think as we learn more about the environment and what
we do to the environment, then we have greater and greater sensitivity to the
environment and we want our presence on the earth to be lighter and lighter.
G: I'd like to mention a couple of specific groups and organizations and ask you to
evaluate their overall impact on the Everglades restoration effort starting with the
Corps of Engineers.
C: They're indispensable, they do the nuts and bolts. After all the debating, after
everyone's had their say, when the decision makers have signed off on what has
to be done, they're the ones who have to do it. I think that today's Corps of
Engineers is, like all of us; more environmentally sensitive than they were at
other times. The Corps of Engineers put up the Glen Canyon Dam on the
Colorado River. Now, it's the Corps of Engineers that has to design and take a
major role in building structures that enhance environmental quality. I don't think
anybody was thinking about environmental quality when we dammed up the
Colorado River and created Lake Powell; probably not a decision we'd make
G: The Department of Interior, including the National Park Service and the Fish and
C: During the course of my experience, the Interior Department has taken the lead
for the federal government. Our experience with the key people at Interior was
very positive. We found bright, knowledgeable, concerned people at all the
levels we dealt with. Fish and Wildlife, I don't know that I had a lot of dealings
with them. I guess, the Loxahatchee Wildlife Preserve, there was a great guy
who ran that for years and his name won't come to me at the moment, but he
was a colorful guy and he was a player. Burkett Nealy is the guy I was trying to
think of. Anyway, he's retired now. I don't know if he's still living, but a fun guy to
G: South Florida Water Management District.
C: The Water Management District has great people, they have dedicated people.
Henry Dean [executive director, South Florida Water Management District, 2001-
present] is a great guy, extremely knowledgeable. The guy who handled some of
the key negotiations, Bill Malone [director, construction and land management
department, South Florida Water Management District], was the guy that knew
the details. Sam Poole [executive director, South Florida Water Management
District] was a strong environmental guy and at the same time, Sam was a guy
that we could go to and express our concerns and he would address those
concerns. We didn't always agree with his solution, but we respected him and he
was bright, he was practical, he knew how to develop political consensus.
G: Do you think the Water Management District today is different than say, ten years
C: Today, I don't think anybody gets appointed to the Water Management District
who is not perceived to be someone who is sensitive to environmental concerns
and has that as a high priority on their agenda. You will see people who actually
come from a business community or an engineering background, but the ones I
have talked to are uniformly knowledgeable in this whole restoration effort and
that probably was not entirely the case ten years ago, fifteen years ago.
G: The State's Department of Environmental Protection.
C: I've talked quite a bit about Carol Browner already. She's someone that I regard
as a friend and that I respect a lot and is enormously talented. I don't know
David Struhs [Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 1999-
present] as well, but I've met him a couple of times. He is very bright and he just
wants to keep the ball moving, that's my perception of him.
G: The environmental community.
C: One of the fun things that I've had an opportunity to do is to get to know a lot of
those guys. They're dedicated, they have an important role to play in the life of
the community. Many of them have pursued environmental careers at the
sacrifice of other things that they could do that would probably be financially
more lucrative. I have really enjoyed knowing a lot of the people in the
G: Finally, the media.
C: They keep us on our toes.
G: Has the media treated the sugar industry fairly?
C: They don't treat anybody fairly. They're not in the business of treating people
fairly. People get upset with what appears in the newspaper because they
misunderstand the role of the newspaper. They are in the business of selling
newspapers, and announcing that the Everglades has been restored and we
don't need to worry about the Everglades anymore, that's not going to sell any
newspapers. Imagine a banner-headline in the New York Times that said 3,800
commercial air flights took off and landed safely in the United States today. How
many newspapers would that sell?
G: Do you think the media has focused perhaps specifically, on the industry? I
know they criticize everybody, but do you think they've singled out the sugar
industry coming up with phrases like Big Sugar and trying to make the sugar
companies the bad guy, so to speak?
C: I don't know. I think we were there, I think we were fun for them. We made it
easy. I think we have a sense of humor about that these days that we once
might not have. But, I think that we're also more sensitive to the way we're
perceived by the public than we used to be. We used to think listen, we're in
business and it's a private business and it's nobody's business. I think the
attitude today is that we can only thrive in this community if we have a good
reputation in the community. For a business to have a good name in a
community, you can't fake that. You're going to have to actually do stuff, you're
going to have to be involved, and you have to be sensitive to the way we're
perceived in the community. I think we're better at that than we used to be, and
we need to be, we should be as part of our responsibility.
G: Looking toward the future, what should be the most important goals and priorities
of the restoration project?
C: More water and better quality water.
G: How do we get there?
C: I think we're going to have to build structures. We're going to have to alter some
structures that already exist. As we develop in the future, we have to be more
sensitive to the environment than we were in the past and I think that that's
happening. The community will continue to grow. This is a wonderful, wonderful
place to live. My kids are grown and they want to live here and I expect they're
going to be having kids soon. The Fanjul family, they're kids now and grand-kids
now, substantially all of them live here. They want to live here and they love to
fish here and hunt here. We've got our own environmental radicals right here in
this boardroom. I think things are going to get better.
G: What do you see as being the most important obstacles to successfully restoring
C: I think we have to avoid the mistakes of the past and we have to make sure that
we continue the dialogue, that we're all listening to each other. If we do that, I
think that we're going to find that the agenda is largely a common one. I think
wherever we can avoid litigation or political contests like the Amendment 4
campaign that just waste resources. I think that we'll move ahead more rapidly.
If we divert attention to those kinds of things I think we'll slide backwards from
time to time. I perceive that there's a better climate these days and that those
things are hopefully largely behind us.
G: Earlier in the interview, you talked about population growth being one of the
primary factors that have contributed to some of the present problems we have
now. Do you think that the population growth issue has been addressed as part
of the Comprehensive Plan or other projects?
C: There are a lot of philosophical things going through my mind. Population growth
as a global issue, population growth in the United States. Population growth
seems to be tapering off a bit, but I think we will continue to have people who
want to migrate to Florida. We'll continue to have pressure for land development
here, but I think we've learned a lot that in the future we'll do that in more
sensitive ways. One of the things that we'll probably be better at is assessing on
development, the real impact on infrastructure of that development.
G: There are statistics or projections that suggest the population of South Florida
may double by the year 2050 to about 12 million, I believe. If that were to occur,
do you think that it will still be possible to achieve the objective that are
envisioned in the Comprehensive Plan?
C: I don't know.
G: Let me ask you then about some of the state, local, and county efforts to control
growth management. Do you believe that those efforts have been effective in
dealing with the growth issue?
C: I think it's a matter of degree. I think they've certainly been partially effective.
Future growth is a decision that we have to make as a community as to how
future growth will be managed.
G: Is that an issue that you and Florida Crystals have had to deal with at all? Kind
of balancing the interests of the agricultural community with that of the urban
C: The interests are not exactly the same. The word you used is balance, and I
think that's what we have to try to achieve. We believe, that there will continue to
be a place in the South Florida community for a large agricultural enterprise and
that it's important to maintain agriculture. We have a half-million acre food
growing asset that's in the middle of a doughnut, Orlando, Ft. Pierce, West Palm
Beach, Broward County, Dade County, you have a huge population circle that is
around the Everglades Agricultural Area. I personally foresee that the ability to
raise food, that the importance of that, and the perception of its importance will
grow as the population increases.
G: My final question. What are the most important lessons that you have personally
learned from your experiences with Everglades issues?
C: It's more important to listen than to talk.
G: End interview.
Donald Carson, Executive Vice-President and a director of Florida Crystals, begins the interview
with his account of how he became involved in Everglades management and the core events that
led to the water issues (page 1-2). He discusses how the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration
Plan is different from previous restoration projects.
According to Carson community support was not inherent. Carson explains the fundamental role
Alfie Fanjul, Florida Crystal=s chairman, played in untangling Florida Crystals from its
litigation centered style of operation (page 4) and how the 1988 lawsuit filed by Dexter Lehtinen
against the South Florida Water Management District contributed to that (page 4 and 6).
On page 5 Carson cites the role the SWIM process had as the initial step that led to more
comprehensive Everglade legislation such as the Everglades Forever Act. From there Carson
explains on pages 6-9 the gradual evolution and implications of the Everglades Forever Act
beginning with the Statement of Principles by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit in 1993. Although
the Statement of Principles fell apart, its key featuresBsuch as specific amounts of monetary
contributions and land for stormwater treatmentBbecame the principles of the Everglades
Forever Act. On page 8 Carson details the level of involvement the Fanjul family and Flo-Sun
Corporation (Florida Crystals) had in the litigation and the split of Flo-Sun Corporation from
other sugar companies in 1994 to settle the litigation.
Some of the criticisms and concerns of the Everglades Forever Act, such as the argument that
sugar companies were not paying enough and the issue of the ten parts-per-billion phosphorous
standard for water quality, are addressed by Carson on page 10-11. Although technology is the
ultimate limiting factor, Carson explains how best-management practices have been
implemented by his company for the joint benefit of the environment and the balance sheet.
On page 11-13 Carson discusses the Save Our Everglades groups campaign to enact a penny-
per-pound tax and the wasted resources used in the campaign for and against it. Next Carson
justifies his company=s lawsuit against the federal government after they purchased the
Talisman land holdings (page 13-16). Then Carson segues into Governor Chiles fundamental
role in resolving the issue, and his creation of the Commission for a Sustainable South Florida in
Carson moves on to tell the role of the Florida Sugarcane League in the Restudy process that
eventually led to the development of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program (page
17). He stresses that a consensus between interests was essential. On page 20-21 Carson gives
his take of the role different organizations, including the Corps of Engineers, the Department of
Interior, South Florida Water Management District, that state= s Department of Environmental
Protection, the environmental community, and the media, are playing in Everglades restoration.
On page 19-22 Carson shares his predictions of the future obstacles and successes of the CERP
process. Although the focus of the plan is overall water supply, growth management will be a
major factor that determines its success (page 22-23). Carson concludes with what he has learned
through his involvement in everglades restoration and the sugar industry.