Drilling considered underneath old jetport site at Big Cypress NPres

If there weren't enough controversial issues swirling about Big Cypress National Preserve, a cash-strapped Miami-Dade County has been mulling the possibility of drilling for oil beneath the preserve.

Why? To help pay for the expansion of Miami-Dade International Airport.

According to the Broward Group of the Sierra Club, the county owns 23,840 acres within Big Cypress that once upon a time was viewed as the footprint for a new airport. The bulk of the mineral rights beneath that property belong to Collier Resources, Inc. In return for letting the company drill for oil, the county would get royalties of approximately 8 percent, according to the chapter.

"The oil is of small quantity and of low grade - on an annual basis the money would not be significant. But with its location on the boundary between the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, the consequences of this industrial operation could be enormous," chapter officials say.

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