If there’s one thing that the South Florida community is united around, it’s protecting the Everglades. On Tuesday, FCV joined our conservation allies, concerned residents, and public officials from around the region at Everglades Holiday Park to denounce a Court of Appeals decision that will grant a local landowner authority to begin exploratory oil well drilling in the Everglades.
The owners, the members of the Kanter Family, own 20,000 acres of land in western Broward County – land that was once the heart of the Everglades. In 2015, the Kanters applied for a permit to begin exploratory oil well drilling on 5 acres of that land. Initially, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) denied their permit saying that there is “a long-standing policy of denying oil drilling in lands subject to Everglades restoration.”
Last week, the Court of Appeals reversed DEP’s decision to deny the permit and has ordered DEP to issue a permit to Kanter Real Estate, thus allowing for drilling.
To stop the Kanters from moving forward, there must be an appeal filed. At Tuesday’s press conference, we called for Governor Ron DeSantis and our state legislators to stand with Broward County in denouncing the efforts of Kanter Real Estate. Now, more than ever, the community needs to come together on this issue and take a stand to protect Florida’s Everglades.
It was exciting to see the level of support shown from Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay in opposition to the oil drilling proposal. Commissioner McKinlay stood in solidarity with Broward County elected officials and offered Palm Beach County resources as we move forward in this fight. It was definitely an impressive moment on her part.
There aren’t multiple Everglades that we can rely on in case one of them gets damaged. There isn’t a Broward Everglades, a Miami-Dade Everglades, or a Palm Beach Everglades. We only have one Everglades. For me, this event demonstrated that when the community and it’s elected officials are a united front on important issues, we can accomplish anything.
Stay tuned. I’ll be reporting more as this issue progresses.