• Homeowners to split more than $52M after 17-year citrus canker battle

    By: Kelly Healey

    Updated:

    SOUTH FLORIDA - A 17-year legal fight over citrus canker is over.

     

    More than 84,000 homeowners in South Florida who had healthy citrus trees cut down by the state are going to get paid for their losses.

     

    The homeowners will split more than $52 million in compensation. That money was allocated in the budget approved by Gov. Rick Scott Friday.

     

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    Residents filed suit after they said their rights were being violated.

     

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

     

    Canker is a bacterial disease that blemishes a tree's fruit and can cause it to drop prematurely, although fruit that ripens can still be squeezed for juice, which is the primary use of Florida's commercial citrus crop.

     

    Canker reappeared in Florida in 1986 and was spread by the wind.

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