Shielding Florida sugar farmers from lawsuits

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that protects sugar farmers from lawsuits related to long-term health damage.

Sugar cane farms in the state usually begin burning cane fields in October to help speed up the harvest. Environmentalists have sued over the annual burns, saying that they cause smoke and “plumes of soot” to fall.

Opponents of the legislation argue it is not about protecting farmers, but giving them immunity from lawsuits.

Burning has occurred every year for decades. Florida’s Ag Commissioner says that farmers and ranchers are good neighbors and responsible stewards of their land.