Gov. DeSantis announces purchase of land to save heart of Everglades from oil production

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Florida Everglades (WINK News)

The heart of the Everglades is already moving toward restoration, now with new protection.

“This, I think, is a win for the people of Florida,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis said the state will buy 20,000 acres of land from a developer who went to a judge and won the right to drill an exploratory oil well.

Broward County tried to stop the plan in court and when that failed, the state stepped in.

“So we’ll permanently save the land from oil production, but it will also be even apart from the largest wetland acquisition in a decade,” DeSantis said.

Environmentalists praised the move, which the governor said had to be done.

“This one was moving further along and legally they had the rights to do this on the land, and so that’s why we had to have a negotiation and do this deal,” he said.

The area is located in west Broward County. It’s home to more than 60 endangered species, including the wood stork.

This new addition is part of a federal and state partnership to preserve the Everglades.

“This is a really bold action to stop oil and gas drilling in one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world,” DeSantis said.

South Florida Water Management District Chairman Chauncey Goss believes this effort will make a real difference.

“The purchase will be recognized nationally and internationally,” he said.

Experts believe there are as many as 10 million barrels of oil beneath this stretch of the Everglades.

The state will pay between $16.5 million and $18 million for the land depending on when the deal closes.

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