TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the State of Florida plans to buy 20,000 acres of Everglades land in Broward County to protect it from oil drilling. Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has made Everglades restoration a priority and to protect the Everglades for the future, and signed an executive order early in his term to give $2.5 billion over the next four years to Everglades restoration projects.
The land is currently private property owned by the Kanter Family, who originally planned to build a new city on the land, but switched to wanting to open the land to oil drilling in 2015. That year, the Kanter Family won a court case against the State of Florida when the state turned them down for the permits to hunt for oil on the land when the Florida Court of Appeals ruled against the state and ruled that they could get a permit to hunt for oil on the land. Even with the court ruling in their favor, they still would have to get permits from Broward County, which opposed the oil drilling. Despite the family having the right to drill on their land, the county said there was only a 23 percent chance of even finding oil in the land.
Now the State of Florida plans to buy the land from the Kanter Family for $16.5 million, but if there is no deal by June 30 the price will jump up to $18 million. Since the family had a legal right to drill on their land, the state had to strike a deal with them if they wanted the land to stay protected.
When the state gets the land there will then be 600,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades Water Conservation Area. This purchase has been widely praised by many environmental groups throughout the state who have warned what would happen to the water and environment if oil drilling commenced there. Also, the purchase of this land will protect the 60 endangered species that call the Everglades their home, such as the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the wood stork. The land’s protection will also protect the water quality and give Floridians fresh and clean water for future generations.
Leyton Blackwell is a photojournalist and Florida National News contributor. | firstname.lastname@example.org