Florida moves to purchase land to protect Everglades from oil drilling

Florida moves to purchase land to protect Everglades from oil drilling
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDisney, NBA talking about resuming games near Orlando Nursing homes need increased staffing, not legal immunity The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask MORE (R) on Wednesday announced that the state plans to buy a 20,000-acre section of the Everglades to prevent oil drilling in the area, according to the Miami Herald.

The current owners of the property near Broward County’s western suburbs secured drilling rights on the land last year amid state opposition, according to the newspaper.

“This will permanently save the land from oil production,” DeSantis said, according to the Herald. “With this acquisition, there will be nearly 600,000 acres of wetlands in Water Conservation Area Three that will be protected by public ownership for recreation and restoration.”

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Under the terms of an option agreement signed Jan. 13, the Kanter family will be paid $16.5 million for the land, with the price increasing to $18 million if the deal is not closed by June 30, according to the Herald.

The family purchased the land more than five decades ago, originally planning to use it for urban development before seeking a drilling permit in 2015. While the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rejected the request, a state appeals court overturned the rejection last February, according to the Herald.

“This was something we challenged in court and the court simply didn’t agree with our administration and allowed oil drilling to move forward,” DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said at a Wednesday press conference announcing the deal.

There is only about a 23 percent chance there is oil on the site, but a well could produce up to 10 million barrels if it was discovered, according to testimony from the family’s expert last spring.

“It’s a very unique piece of property with incredible natural resources on it. We’re happy to know it’s going to be protected and kept in pristine condition for future generations,” John Kanter said, according to the Herald. “The family wants to thank the DEP sec and the Governor for stepping in and taking a leadership role in creating a situation that’s a win-win for everyone.”