BRADENTON, Fla. - A Florida judge yesterday began a two-day bond validation hearing in the ongoing case in which the South Florida Water Management District wants to purchase U.S. Sugar Corp. land for $536 million.

The district, headquartered in Palm Beach County, plans to use certificates of participation to purchase the land to help restore the famed Florida Everglades. The size of the land purchase and cost of the project was recently scaled back because of the economy and declining property values.

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