BRADENTON, Fla. - In what would be Florida's largest single acquisition for environmental protection purposes, state officials announced yesterday that they intend to purchase as much as 187,000 acres of sugar-growing land in South Florida for a price that could be as much as $1.75 billion.

A portion of the purchase will be financed with certificates of participation, while some would be paid in cash. The state would buy the land from owner U.S. Sugar Corp., the state's larger producer of the crop, and ultimately restore it to its natural state as part of the Florida Everglades.

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