The Real Deal Miami

Broward County resists bid for oil-drilling permit

County commissioners seek more power over drilling via amended state law

August 16, 2015 11:00AM

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Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

The Broward County Commission took action to oppose an application for a state oil-drilling permit on an Everglades site in the county’s southwest corner.

County commissioners unanimously agreed last week to seek an amendment to state law giving counties the legal authority to determine whether drilling for oil is permissible within their borders. State gives cities such authority within their borders.

A unit of Miami-based Kanter Corporation of Florida applied in July to obtain a state permit to drill an exploratory well about in marshland about six miles west of Miramar. It would be the farthest east that exploration for crude oil in the Everglades has extended.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had 30 days to review the drilling permit application by Kanter and may ask for more information before approving or denying it. Kanter would also need a water use permit from the South Florida Water District, a water district spokesman said. The company also may need federal permits if the proposed site of the exploratory oil drilling is a habitat for endangered species.

The depth of the vertical well would be almost 12,000 feet, a Kanter spokeswoman told the Miami Herald, and the company’s intention is to draw crude oil from the Sunniland Trend, a vast U.S. oil formation that extends across the entire South Florida area and to the Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

If it is approved, the proposed well will be the farthest one east of a set of small drilling sites that have operated for decades in the Big Cypress Preserve. Just one oil well was dug previously in Broward County, near its border with Collier County. A Texas-based business dug the well in 1985 and then capped and abandoned it the same year.

The City of Miramar, the municipality closest to the proposed drilling site, will hold a town meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Miramar City Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to allow Broward city officials to discuss how they would respond to state action on the drilling application.

The City of Pembroke Pines will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the drilling issue on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the River of Grass Theater, according to city commissioner Jay Schwartz. [Sun Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth