The state of Florida will buy a large chunk of land in the Everglades to prevent oil production there — killing a plan that had triggered international outrage.
"We will permanently save this land from oil production and it will be largest wetlands acquisition in a decade," GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference at Everglades Holiday Park on Wednesday, Phys.org reported.
The buyout involves 20,000 acres in western Broward County owned by Kanter Real Estate, which had won approval for an exploratory oil well. The price is $16.56 million to $18 million, depending on when the deal closes, the news outlet reported.
The company, which represents the family of banker and developer Joseph Kanter, proposed to drill an exploratory well in the Everglades just south of Alligator Alley.
Environmental groups were overjoyed.
"This is an important purchase to protect the Everglades and the drinking water of millions," Diana Umpierre, Everglades organizer for the Sierra Club, told the news outlet.
Added Matthew Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association, one of the leaders of the fight against the project, the buyout is a "huge relief."
According to Phys.org, Joseph Kanter, who had been involved in the development of Lauderhill and other cities, bought the land around 1965 in order to create a new town — predating plans to restore the Everglades. The town was never built, and the land sat undisturbed.
John Kanter, the company's president and Joseph Kanter's son, said the agreement followed months of discussions and the family was glad to make a deal that benefited everybody.
"This is a beautiful property, with incredible natural resources, that we have owned for over 50 years," he told the news outlet. "We are happy that the property will be protected and remain in pristine condition for future generations."
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