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KEYS TO SELL 54 ACRES FOR LAND CONSERVATION

04/16/2008 ~ In a continuing effort to preserve environmentally sensitive lands in the Florida Keys, Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet voted on Tuesday to acquire more than 54 acres from Keys Energy Services (KEYS) as part of the Florida Keys Ecosystem Florida Forever Project.

The 54 acres are on the West side of Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key and are directly across the street from the former site of the Cudjoe Key Diesel Generation site where KEYS’ annual Tree Giveaway is normally held. KEYS has owned the property since the late 1960s.

“As owners and custodians of this valuable habitat, we felt the partnership with the State through the Florida Forever program was the best way to ensure the preservation of the habitat,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS General Manager & CEO.

The cost to the State to purchase the 54 acres from KEYS will be $1.9 million. KEYS will use the money from the sale of the property to perform soil remediation at KEYS facilities and storm-harden KEYS Service Building and Stock Island Generating Facilities.

The purchase is part of an accelerated plan by the State to preserve almost 12,000 acres along the Florida Keys, with over 6,500 acres of the project having already been acquired.

The Florida Keys Ecosystem Florida Forever project stretches from South Key Largo to Boca Chica Key, encompassing parcels of West Indian plants and some of the largest remaining tracts of undeveloped hardwood hammocks. The habitats support more than 60 rare and endangered plants and animals, including the Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Key deer and white-crowned pigeon. This parcel will be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Key Deer Refuge.

The 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program established by the Florida Legislature in 1999 conserves environmentally sensitive land, restores waterways and preserves important cultural and historical resources. For more information on the Florida Forever program, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/acquisition/FloridaForever/. For more information on KEYS other GREEN initiatives, visit www.KeysEnergy.com and click on the “Growing Greener Every Day” icon.

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