“They’re Here” U.S. Sugar Corporation in Martin County, SLR/IRL

Clewistons' US Sugar Corporation refinery 2013 (Dr Scott Kuhns)
Clewistons’ US Sugar Corporation refinery with fields surrounding, 2013.  (Aerial, Dr Scott Kuhns)
Sugar production site, public photo
Sugar refinery with cane in foreground, public photo.
Land ownership
Land ownership

U.S. Sugar Corporation…..I always think of them as a giant corporation “south of the lake,” blocking the waters of Lake Okeechobee causing the waters to be redirected to our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon…Well “they” are no longer just south of the lake….

“They’re here”———and I am not speaking about cane fields.

"They're here.."
“They’re here.” Poltergeist 1982.

I have been thinking about writing this blog post since October of 2015, but waited. It was in October of 2015, from a very reliable source, that I first  heard that U.S. Sugar Corporation had become a member of the Martin County Economic Council. I was surprised. This is a game changer for Martin County in my opinion. And then I started looking around and realized that they had been here to influence for a while and I just had not noticed…

US Sugar listed on Economic Council Website 2016
US Sugar listed as a trustee member  on the Economic Council of Martin County’s Website’s  2016

For instance a couple of months ago, my husband Ed and I attended an event at the historic Lyric Theater. My husband, Ed, started donating in both our names to his beloved Lyric Theater shortly after our marriage in 2005. About two months ago we attend an event and when we sat down to have our picture taken against the newly designed Directors’ Circle Donor Wall, I notice that our name is right up there “in bronze “with US Sugar Corporation. “This is new,” I thought to myself….”Wow.”

“I didn’t see that last time we were here….Interesting.”

Bronze walled sponsors for the Lyric.
Bronze walled sponsors for the Lyric. Look left third up.
Ed and I have been list on the wall since 2006.
Ed and I have been list on the wall since 2006.
Lyric booklet of Director Circle Donars
Lyric booklet of Director Circle Donors

OK let’s continue ….

So then yesterday, I go to Office Depot to get a special pen, and while I am standing in line a nice lady hands me the brochure for the upcoming Martin County Fair. I have attended the fair since middle school—an iconic event.  I smile, thank her, open the brochure, and  guess who is one of the sponsors?

Yes. US Sugar Corporation.

Martin County Fair brochure 2016
Martin County Fair brochure 2016

When I really think about it, I guess this is no surprise as US Sugar Corporation has been very visible trying to improve their image locally in the Stuart News after 2013’s “Lost Summer” toxic algae fiasco spending $100,000s of dollars on ads like the one below. I wonder where their influence will show up next?

In any case they are not just south of the lake, “they’re here.” This is becoming more and more obvious. Look around.

— The good thing is we’ll have a chance for conversation a little closer to home…I look forward to it.

Ad in Stuart News 2014/15
Ad in Stuart News 2014/15

MC Economic Council:http://www.mceconomy.org

Lyric Theater: http://www.lyrictheatre.com

MC Fair: http://www.martincountyfair.com

10 thoughts on ““They’re Here” U.S. Sugar Corporation in Martin County, SLR/IRL

  1. And I’d love that conversation to include a discussion about why cane farmers continue to belch soot into our atmosphere as they burn off the cane fields…despite their claims it’s the only way to clear the fields, there are alternatives that would be much healthier.

  2. I believe there is an opportunity for civil conversation with US Sugar. They are investing so much in creating a new image for themselves, they must be concerned. I would propose they can come out big winners on the water issue, in Florida, and nationwide with our help. What if we could work together and determine the land required for a spillway south, and they agreed to drive that effort to sell those parcels at fair market value? And at the same time we recognize their need to keep agricultural fields dry to grow their crops. It would be a win-win for both sides. If you pull a team together to structure a conversation, I would be glad to help.

    1. Dennis – This has been my point and position for YEARS. What is the flow cross section of the St. Lucie Canal? What is the Flow Cross Section of the Calosahatchie River? What can’t this necessary Flow cross Section not be added to the combined – Miami Canal, Hillsboro Canal, and North New River Canals to move this “drain water” from Lake O – South to the Water Conservation Areas for retention and “treatment” in the WCA’s ? This would only be a comparatively very small increase in the cross sections of these three canals and NOT a shut down of the very valuable and productive EAA Lands.

  3. US Sugar also has an employee serving on the Board of Directors of our own Martin County Chamber of Commerce. It is no wonder Joe Cantrambone, the paid executive director, has written letters to the editor of the Stuart News saying the discharges are not the problem. They are 90% of the problem and the river would be pristine if all we had left were septic tanks and local runoff.

  4. Jacqui… They have been here the whole time. They need to talk to you as much as you need to talk to them. Unfortunately … They have not been included in the conversation. You will not fix our water problems without talking to the land owners in the middle of the state. And not just US Sugar… All of them.

  5. It’s amazing to me how the economic council could see this as a good thing. If they like them so much they should move to Clewiston. The economic council also has ties to the Pacific Legal Foundation which has ties to the Koch Brothers who are no friends of Martin County.

Leave a Reply