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Environmentalism pays off


For years, St. Joe Corp. was among the worst environmental pirates operating in Florida. But recently, the company has redone its image, winning an award from the Florida Audubon Society for its efforts on behalf of the environment. On Monday, Audubon praised the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Department of the Interior and St. Joe's Talisman Sugar Co. for reaching an agreement on the purchase of 50,000 acres of land believed crucial to plans to design a water-storage system needed to save the Everglades.

"The Everglades is hemorrhaging trillions of gallons of water to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean every year as a result of the inefficient 1940s design of this system," says Charles Lee, vice president of the Audubon. "The St. Joe lands can be used to catch this water."

Who says environmental consciousness can't be profitable? St. Joe will be paid $133.5 million in cash for the land.