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Thousands of Florida homeowners will be paid for lost trees

Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 16:44:33-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Thousands of Florida homeowners who had healthy citrus trees cut down by the state are finally going to get paid for their losses.

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday approved a new state budget that includes more than $52 million to pay homeowners in Broward and Palm Beach counties whose trees were removed more than a decade ago in a failed attempt to eradicate citrus canker. The homeowners were part of class action lawsuits against the state.

Scott's decision was surprising since last year he vetoed more than $37 million in payments that legislators had approved for homeowners in Broward and Lee counties.

In a last-ditch attempt to battle contamination, the state in 2000 ordered the destruction of even healthy citrus trees within 1,900 feet of an infected tree with or without the owner's permission.