© Chip Litherland for The New York Times

Visitors can experience the Everglades National Park by plunging into thigh-deep water on ranger-led swamp hikes or paddling through mangrove forests in a canoe.

 American Journeys: Everglades National Park  

IF you heed just one bit of advice on a trip to the Everglades, let it be this: Slow down. The stunning beauty of the place can be elusive unless you're willing to move as gently and languidly as the River of Grass itself.

March 9, 2007  

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Editorial:  Hope for the Everglades

Seven years ago, Congress and the Clinton administration set in motion the most ambitious environmental initiative on the planet: an $8 billion, 40-year project to restore South Florida’s ecosystem and, in particular, the Everglades, which had been punished by a half-century of uncontrolled development and starved of fresh water.

It was a 50-50 deal, and so far Florida has lived up to its share of the bargain, contributing more than $2 billion already. The federal response, crippled by an inattentive president and a divided, ineffectual Congress, has been pathetic — a mere $363 million — putting the whole enterprise way behind schedule.

Now, at last, comes some good news. Overriding a rare veto by President Bush, Congress this week approved a $22 billion water resources bill that has been hanging around for seven years. Like all big infrastructure bills, this one includes a little something for every member of Congress. But in addition to the pork, the bill also contains several necessary projects. Among them are coastal restoration in Louisiana and two big wetlands restoration projects in the Everglades.

© New York Times

>> read more


Congress Turns Back Bush’s Veto in a Test of Power


WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 — The Senate dealt President Bush the first veto override of his presidency on Thursday, with a resounding bipartisan vote to adopt a $23.2 billion water resources bill that authorizes popular projects across the country.

The vote of 79 to 14 sent a clear signal that the Democrats in control of Congress plan to test the power of the White House on other fronts, and it gave Republicans a chance to show distance from an unpopular president heading into a tough election year.

“We have said today, as a Congress to this president, you can’t just keep rolling over us like this,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who led the charge on the water bill as chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“You can’t make everything a fight because we’ll see it through,” Ms. Boxer added. “And that’s a big deal. It isn’t easy for members of the other side to stand up to a president in their own party. I know. I know what that’s like. It’s hard.”

Thirty-four of the Senate’s 49 Republicans voted to override.

© New York Times

>> read more


Bush Vetoes Water Bill, Citing Cost of $23 Billion


WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — President Bush on Friday vetoed a bill authorizing $23 billion in water resource projects, calling it overly expensive, and Congressional Democrats responded angrily, accusing him of insensitivity to the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast, a big beneficiary of the legislation. They pledged to override him.

The bill, the Water Resources Development Act, would authorize $3.5 billion in work for hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, nearly $2 billion for efforts to save the Everglades and additional sums for a host of other projects favored by lawmakers. Critics said the bill not only was costly but also failed to provide vital changes to the often criticized Army Corps of Engineers, which would do most of the work.

Mr. Bush has now cast five vetoes as president, four since Democrats took control of Congress in January. None have been overridden, although this legislation passed both houses with more than the two-thirds majorities needed to override.

In his veto message, the president noted that when the bill emerged from a House-Senate conference committee, its cost had risen more than 50 percent above the cost of legislation originally passed by the two houses. He also said a backlog of projects for the Corps of Engineers meant that many projects in the bill would never be financed or completed.

“This bill lacks fiscal discipline,” he said. “This authorization bill makes promises to local communities that the Congress does not have a track record of keeping.”

© New York Times

>>


Effort to Save Everglades Falters as Funds Drop


MIAMI, Oct. 31 — The rescue of the Florida Everglades, the largest and most expensive environmental restoration project on the planet, is faltering.

Seven years into what was supposed to be a four-decade, $8 billion effort to reverse generations of destruction, federal financing has slowed to a trickle. Projects are already years behind schedule. Thousands of acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat continue to disappear, paved by developers or blasted by rock miners to feed the hungry construction industry.

The idea that the federal government could summon the will and money to restore the subtle, sodden grandeur of the so-called River of Grass is disappearing, too.

Supporters say the effort would get sorely needed momentum from a long-delayed federal bill authorizing $23 billion in water infrastructure projects, including almost $2 billion for the Everglades.

But President Bush is expected to veto the bill, possibly on Friday. And even if Congress overrides the veto, which is likely, grave uncertainties will remain.

The product of a striking bipartisan agreement just before the 2000 presidential election, the plan aims to restore the gentle, shallow flow of water from Lake Okeechobee, in south-central Florida, into the Everglades, a vast subtropical marshland at the state’s southern tip.

That constant, slow coursing nurtured myriad species of birds, fish and other animals across the low-lying Everglades, half of which have been lost to agriculture and development over the last century.

© New York Times

>>



Artificial Sweetener Settlement Turns Sour

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A settlement reached between the makers of Splenda and Equal has taken a new twist and is back in court.

Published: June 8, 2007
The sugar wars have a sour new chapter.

A undisclosed settlement between the makers of Equal and Splenda over Splenda’s contested slogan of “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar” came apart yesterday, prompting renewed fighting between the two rival makers of artificial sweeteners.  Lawyers for Equal’s maker, Merisant, filed court papers yesterday accusing Splenda’s maker, McNeil Nutritionals, of backing out of a settlement reached May 11.

Merisant asked the federal district judge in Philadelphia who oversaw a five-week jury trial between the two rivals to do one of two things: enforce the settlement, which was reached hastily in her chambers moments after the jury reached its verdict, or announce the jury’s decision.

Because of the settlement, the verdict was never entered into the record and was not publicly disclosed.  Merisant, in its court filings yesterday in Federal District Court in Philadelphia, suggested that the jury had found against Splenda’s maker, McNeil, which is a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

“As reported in the press, that verdict found for Merisant on liability issues, concluding that McNeil’s Splenda campaign was false and misleading,” Merisant’s filing yesterday said.  McNeil took exception to the claim that it was backing out of the deal.

© New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/08/business/08sour.html?_r=1&n=Top/Reference/Times Topics/Subjects/S/Sugar&oref=slogin          



Funding Delays threaten projects 

Source: BRIAN SKOLOFF Associated Press
ON THE KISSIMMEE RIVER -- A 10-foot alligator bakes in the sun. Wading birds pluck food from the shallows. Fish feed in pools where water ebbs and flows.|Despite progress along the Kissimmee River, overall Everglades restoration is lagging due to a lack of money. Life has returned. The Kissimmee River is a success story of nature restored after years of dikes, dams and diversions for flood control left it an ecological mess. But it's also a tale of bureaucracy and politics.

Published on May 20, 2007, Page 6B, Miami Herald, The (FL)




Bill boosts Everglades cash  

Source: LESLEY CLARK lclark@MiamiHerald.com
WASHINGTON -- Everglades restoration efforts would get a major boost, Miami-Dade's port would get cash for widening and deepening, and the crumbling dam along Lake Okeechobee would be studied under a massive water-projects bill that cleared the U.S. Senate on Wednesday -- but still faces hurdles.|A measure passed by the U.S. Senate would provide a financial boost to Everglades restoration, as well as other South Florida projects. The measure, which passed the Senate by a vote of

Published on May 17, 2007, Page 6B, Miami Herald, The (FL)




Editorial: Still not fixing the Army Corps

Editorial scores Democrats on House transportation committee for approving huge $40 billion development bill that is devoid of any serious reforms to Army Corps of Engineers, agency that over years has inflated economic payoffs of its projects while underestimating their potential damage to environment

Correction: March 27, 2007, Tuesday An editorial on March 19 stated incorrectly that the House version of the 2007 Water Resources and Development bill would cost $40 billion. The anticipated cost is $14 billion to $15 billion.

© New York Times

New York Times Archives abstract




American Journeys: Everglades National Park  

Published: March 9, 2007

IF you heed just one bit of advice on a trip to the Everglades, let it be this: Slow down. The stunning beauty of the place can be elusive unless you're willing to move as gently and languidly as the River of Grass itself.

Not quite the brackish swamp that many imagine it to be, the Everglades (first named Pa-hay-okee, for “grassy water,” by the Calusa Indians) is actually a wide, shallow river flowing through Florida's 80 southernmost miles of mainland and in many places blending into the shores of the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. It flows like molasses, at the rate of just a quarter-mile a day.

Living within those million-plus acres of wetlands are 200 types of fish, 350 species of birds, 120 different kinds of trees and more than 1,000 kinds of plants, just for starters, all only an hour south of Miami.

“When people go to national parks, they expect to be blown away by the scenery, to be entertained by a canyon or a mountain,” said Brian Ettling, an Everglades National Park ranger. “We don't have that here. But we have biodiversity. And that makes this a beautiful place all on its own.”

© New York Times

nytimes.com article





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