Court says order allowing oil drilling in Everglades was 'issued in error'
A state court said Monday afternoon that an order affirming an oil drilling proposal for the Everglades had been "issued in error."
Earlier Monday, the First District Court of Appeal posted an order that appeared to hand a major legal victory to Kanter Real Estate LLC, which had proposed an exploratory well in the Everglades of western Broward County.
The court order refused a request by the state of Florida to rehear the case, allowing to stand its order that the state issue a permit for the well.
"Motion for rehearing en banc filed by the appellee, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, on February 20, 2019, is denied," the court said.
But later that afternoon, the court posted an announcement that said, "The Court's order dated March 18, 2019, is withdrawn as issued in error."
Kanter Real Estate LLC, which owns about 20,000 acres in the Everglades, plans to drill an exploratory well about six miles west of Miramar. Although the Florida Department of Environmental Protection refused to issue a permit, the company challenged the denial and won a series of court victories.
A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal found in favor of the company last month, ordering the state to issue a permit. Under Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state had asked the full court to rehear the case, arguing that it was of high public importance.
The company, which represents the family of real estate pioneer Joseph Kanter, proposed a single exploratory well about five miles west of U.S. 27 and 10 miles south of Alligator Alley. A company oil expert has testified in court that there was a 23 percent chance of finding oil, considered high by industry standards, and if oil were found, it could be possible to extract 180,000 to 10 million barrels.
The decision does not exhaust the state's options, which could include an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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