Editor's note: Robin Merrill is part of the coordination circle for Love the Everglades.
It was just this April that President Barack Obama gave a speech amid the sawgrass of the South Florida Everglades. But that memory is nearly forgotten as news of a proposed oil well in Broward County has shocked locals. Kanter Real Estate LLC has started the process to apply for permits to explore for oil in Broward County wetlands. That permit is up for discussion at the upcoming Broward County Commission Meeting on Tuesday.
Though it may seem that Broward County consists of resort cities and suburban sprawl, it's actually about 2/3 Everglades wetlands. In fact, the county was originally about to be named Everglades County in 1915 but was changed by the State of Florida Speaker of the House of Representatives to honor the former state governor, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward.
As Matthew Schwartz of the South Florida Wildlands Association explains in this video, drilling into the fragile limestone aquifer has the potential of drastically altering the water supply for all of Southern Florida. The Biscayne Aquifer is the underground limestone “sponge” that purifies and delivers the sheet of water that flows from the north over the River of Grass, the Everglades. This hot topic is up for discussion and debate at three public gatherings this sizzling month of August.
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Three important Dates in August for action and information:
1) When: Tuesday, August 11, starting at 10 a.m.
What: Broward County Commission Meeting, agenda item #91, brought up for discussion by Commissioner Beam Furr (permit request for oil drilling from Kanter Real Estate LLC).
Where: Broward Government Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Free parking in the government garage with validated ticket.
2) When: Thursday, August 20, 7 to 9 p.m.
What: Town Hall Meeting on Drilling for Oil in the Everglades
Where: Pembroke Pines Theater of the Performing Arts, 17195 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines. For more info, visit the Facebook event page.
3) When: Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23
Free admission, with speakers, entertainment, art, prayer room, networking, and evening outdoor activities. Online registration and list of speakers and activities.
Where: Day One: Miccosukee Resort & Convention Center, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening activities. 500 SW 177th Ave. (corner Krome Avenue and Tamiami Trail), Miami.
Day Two: August 23, Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Breakout groups at FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Facebook event page.