No-bid farming leases approved in Palm Beach County

, The Associated Press

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Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have approved no-bid, 30-year extensions with two agriculture companies on their leases of state lands in Palm Beach County.

Environmentalists opposed the extensions that were approved Wednesday in exchange for favorable deals on other property needed for restoration of the Everglades.

Audubon of Florida executive director Eric Draper says 30 years is too long with vegetable grower A. Duda and Sons Inc.

Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, urged the panel to delay both lease extensions to allow time for additional negotiations. The other agreement was with sugar grower Florida Crystals.

South Florida Water Management District executive director Melissa Meeker calls the proposals a good deal for the state and says she couldn't delay the land purchases.

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