By Steve Gorman
(Reuters) – Florida's state has reached a private real estate company to buy a large swath of environmentally sensitive wetlands in the heart of the Everglades to save the path from oil drilling, the Governor of God announced Wednesday.
A Florida agreement recognized 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) to buy from Kanter Real Estate LLC, if it were built, the state would get the largest wetlands in ten years, Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement.
The deal was reached after a Florida appeal court last year against the Department of Environmental Protection's bid to allow the real estate company based in Miami to inspect oil on the land in question.
Kanter family agreed to sell the property for $ 16.5 million, but the price would go to $ 18 million if the deal closes after 30 June.
Almost 600,000 acres (243,000 hectares) of Kanter properties could be acquired, the amount of wetland permanently protected within the Everglades conservation area set aside for environmental restoration and recreation, the state said.
"This significant purchase will save these lands permanently from oil drilling," said DeSantis, a first-time Republican who made Everglades an integral part of his guardian and policy campaign program since taking up office.
He recently recommended $ 625 million in state funding for Everglades refurbishment projects and for water related projects.
The larger conservation area in question provides habitat for more than 60 endangered wildlife species and by the head of the Environment Department, Noah Valenstein. Among Everglades' most significant protected creatures are the Florida panther, the American crocodile, the American alligator and the West Indian manatee.
According to the water flowing through that area, Waterway Biscayne, a drinking water source in South Florida is reviewed, including the largest Miami urban area, said Temperince Morgan, executive director of Florida chapter of the Nature Conservancy & # 39; s Florida.
Her group and her people worked with the state and federal government for years to store and rebuild water treatment for the wetlands within and around the parcel who agreed to purchase DeSantis administration, Morgan said. .
The corridor represents a remaining critical remnant of the original Everglades, a vast expanse of subtropical desert which comprises about 1.5 million acres (607,028 hectares) of grass marshes, mangrove forests and hardwood hammocks.
Around half of South Florida's original wetlands were lost from human development, and the region is still under pressure from agriculture, urban sprawl, rising sea levels and invasive species, such as Burma's python.
John Kanter, president of the real estate firm with the Wall Street Journal said his company intended to undertake oil exploration with the "highest level of safety."
(Reporting by Steve Gorman from Culver City, California; Editing by Sandra Maler)