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U.S. SUGAR SUPPORTS TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IN EVERGLADES MEDIATION; MOVE INTENDED TO INSURE SUCCESS OF MEDIATION PROCESS

 CLEWISTON, Fla., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- United States Sugar Corporation announced today it would support virtually any phosphorus reduction methods which the other parties in the Everglades mediation would accept.
 "We are committed to the success of mediation," said Malcolm Wade, vice president of U.S. Sugar and the Company's technical representative in the mediation. "We do not necessarily agree with the technical solutions being discussed, just as we do not agree with the water quality standards. But, to make mediation work, we are willing to accept them if they can be incorporated into an acceptable overall package. We believe that all the other parties at the table also share the same attitude -- that while they do not agree with everything so far, they may be willing to accept a total package.
 "The farmers' Environmental Peace Plan leaves it up to the government to determine the best way to remove phosphorus that is not removed on the farms. Farmers will remove or pay to have removed as much phosphorus as they add to the water. If the government wants more phosphorus removed, the government should pay for any additional cleanup.
 "We believe the government should have a free hand to determine how to meet its responsibility, just as farmers should have a free hand in determining how to meet theirs. I believe the parties in this mediation are inches apart. We should push to closure. There is no reason that Florida should not have an Everglades restoration plan that everyone of good will can embrace," Wade concluded.
 In February, U.S. Sugar announced an Environmental Peace Plan. The plan provides a framework for restoring the Everglades while saving the nearly 40,000 jobs that depend on farming south of Lake Okeechobee.
 The plan's terms are:
 -- The farmers will drop their lawsuits and accept the water
 quality standards in the Everglades Settlement Agreement
 between the state and Federal governments. They will also
 accept Stormwater Treatment Areas or whatever technical
 methods the government chooses to use in removing phosphorus
 from water leaving their region.
 -- Farmers and government will have defined Everglades
 restoration responsibilities. For every pound that enters
 their land from the air, irrigation or seepage, the farmers
 will allow only a pound to leave. Their responsibility will
 be to remove or pay to have removed phosphorus they add to the
 water. Removing more phosphorus than that will be the
 government's responsibility, for which it will pay.
 -- If all parties can agree to the "pound on, pound off"
 definition of the farmer's responsibility, the farmers will
 join with the state government and whoever else is interested
 in asking Washington to accept its responsibility in
 restoration. The Army Corps of Engineers canal system is a
 major factor in the Everglades problem and needs to be
 replumbed, a project the Federal Government should finance.
 -- To help them meet their responsibilities in the cleanup, the
 farmers want a tradable restoration credits program. The
 program would provide an economic incentive for developing
 cheaper and more effective cleanup technology. It would
 permit those farmers who get the most phosphorus out of their
 water to sell or trade credits to those who could not get
 their water as clean. It would help farmers reduce the cost
 of cleanup and save farm jobs.
 On April 19, all parties to the Everglades dispute agreed to a 30-day stay of legal proceeding in order to focus their energies on an attempt to bring the mediation process to a successful conclusion. Since that time, negotiators have been meeting almost every day. Parties involved in mediation include the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami, the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, the South Florida Water Management District, various national and state environmental advocacy groups, the farmers south of Lake Okeechobee, the Miccosukee Tribe, and farmers in the Western Basin. The mediator is Gerald W. Cormick of Gerald Cormick and Associates.
 -0- 5/10/93
 /CONTACT: Robert Buker of U.S. Sugar Corporation, 813-983-8121/


CO: U.S. Sugar Corporation ST: Florida IN: AGR SU:

AW -- FL010 -- 6463 05/10/93 11:48 EDT
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Date:May 10, 1993
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