Broward News

Everglades Drilling in Broward Wetlands to Be Discussed at Pembroke Pines Town Hall Meeting Thursday

In July, Kanter Real Estate filed an application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to begin drilling in the Everglades of Broward County. But last week, Broward commissioners voted unanimously to challenge state law in order to get an amendment pushed that would allow the county to decide whether or not to allow Kanter to drill in the wetland area. According to the Miami Herald, commissioners believe that the area in question is "zoned for conservation" and, therefore, cannot be drilled on. Commissioners believe Kanter should go through them in order to obtain permission, rather than the state.

Kanter wants to drill about 12,000 feet down in order to draw crude oil from an area known as the Sunniland Trench, which stretches across South Florida wetlands into the Gulf of Mexico. Kanter owns 20,000 acres of wetlands in the area and has applied to drill there.

On Thursday, a town hall meeting hosted by the South Florida Wildlands Association will be held in Pembroke Pines to discuss Kanter's application and the potential environmental impact of drilling. 

According to the SFWA, drilling in this area would be a serious risk for the Biscayne Aquifer, which is the sole drinking-water source for thousands of residents of Broward and Miami-Dade residents.

"The western two-thirds of Broward County is still undeveloped Everglades," a statement from the South Florida Wildlands Association reads. "We fully intend to protect those irreplaceable wetlands for the sake of the ecosystem itself — and for the watershed we depend on."

As for Kanter, the Miami-based company applied for a state permit on July 8 to drill an exploratory well just west of Miramar. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has had 30 days to review the permit application but has yet to issue one. DEP might require more information before making a decision. 

In addition to a drilling permit, Kanter will need a water-use permit, which is issued by the South Florida Water Management District. Federal permits might be required if endangered species inhabit the area.

Meanwhile, city leaders from Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach, Plantation, Tamarac, Weston, and Wilton Manors have all spoken against Kanter's desire to drill in the area and have publicly shown their support for the City of Miramar on this issue.

On July 15, Miramar commissioners met to officially oppose Kanter's drilling prospects.

As for Thursday's town hall meeting, the South Florida Wetlands Association invites the public including all levels of state and federal permitting agencies. Reps from Kanter Realty will also be welcome.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts, located at 17195 Sheridan St. in Pembroke Pines.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph