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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami real estate company which owns 20,000 acres in the Everglades has filed an application with the state to build an exploratory well in southern Broward. But the move has sparked a fight with environmentalists.

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Kanter Real Estate LLC said the proposed well, which would be about five miles west of Miramar, is part of a long-term plan which includes water storage and water quality improvements that could help in Everglades restoration.

Company owner John Kanter told CBS4’s news partner at the Miami Herald, “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.”

The land where the well would be built is part of the Sunniland Trend which consists of a series of underground oil deposits which extend from Miami to Ft. Myers. Sunniland deposits have been mined since the 1940s. There’s a pending plan for seismic exploration at Big Cypress National Preserve, where oil wells have been active in two locations for years.

Kanter Real Estate says they are looking at “mining as well as water storage and water quality improvement components that have the potential for assisting with Everglades restoration.”

Environmentalists said that drilling that area would threaten the region’s water supply, destroy wildlife habitat and complicate the restoration of the Everglades.

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CBS4’s Cynthia Demos’ spoke on the phone with executive director of the South Florida wildlands association Matthew Schwartz.

“The risk is tremendous. Possibly a few extra tax dollars for the state, but they are putting at risk the drinking water for Broward County and the health of the Everglades, including the Everglades National Park. I don’t think that’s a very good trade off,” he said.

He says this project would involve building a five-acre parking lot in the middle of the Everglades with the road and using equipment that would produce a lot of toxins in the area drilling down 2 miles and affecting the aquifer.

“Is the oil well in this location appropriate?” he said.

Schwartz said most oil wells in Florida are dry, but for investors if oil does turn up I’ll make a lot of money and even if it doesn’t they get a huge tax break.

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Kanter’s son John said in a written statement the company plans to develop its holding in an environmentally sensitive manner.