BRADENTON, Fla. - A circuit judge Friday set aside three days next month to continue hearing challenges to the South Florida Water Management District's petition to validate $2.2 billion of certificates of participation.

The district plans to use $1.34 billion of COPs to buy U.S. Sugar Corp.'s 180,000 acres of sugar cane fields and citrus groves and had filed a petition to have the certificates validated. The remainder of the COP authorization provides the district with flexibility for other capital needs.

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