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Thousands Of Florida Homeowners Will Be Paid For Lost Trees

AP_Citrus_2.jpg
Lynne Sladky/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.