Family seeks oil-drilling permit for west Broward site

The Everglades
The Everglades

A South Florida family reportedly requested a state drilling permit for an exploratory oil well in marshland about six miles west of Miramar.

It would be the farthest east that exploration for crude oil in the Everglades has extended.

John Kanter of the Kanter Family Foundation said in a prepared statement that “as second-generation Floridians and owners of this property for over 50 years, we are excited about the opportunities this land and these resources will provide for Florida.”

In the statement, the family said it acquired 20,000 acres in western Broward County more than a half century ago. John Kanter’s father Joseph, who became was a national leader in apartment construction in the 1940s and 1950s, told the Miami Herald in 1983 that he purchased the land in hopes of someday building a city in the Everglades.

The location of the proposed exploratory oil field is along a drainage canal about six miles west of Miramar and U.S. 27. Operations there could include rock mining, too, the Kanter family said.

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Matthew Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association, which opposes increased drilling, said, “I guess it was just a matter of time, but it’s interesting with oil prices plummeting that they decided to start drilling.”

The depth of the vertical well would be almost 12,000 feet, a Kanter family spokeswoman told the Miami Herald, and the family’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.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has 30 days to review the drilling permit application by Miami-based Kanter Corporation of Florida and ask for more information before approving or denying it.

The Kanter family would also need a water use permit from the South Florida Water District, a water district spokesman said. The family also may need federal permits if the proposed site of the exploratory oil drilling is a habitat for endangered species. If it is approved, the proposed well would be the farthest one east of a set of small drilling sites that have operated for decades in the Big Cypress Preserve.

A DEP spokeswoman said 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. [Miami Herald] — Mike Seemuth