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A company that wants to build an oil well near the Everglades is getting plenty of opposition

Map of permitted oil and gas well sites
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Map of permitted oil and gas wells.

The oil well would be build in the heart of one of the state's biggest agricultural areas.

Trend Exploration of North Fort Myers has applied to state environmental regulators to drill an exploratory well just north of Immokalee, in Collier County.

State officials have asked the company to increase the length of a concrete casing around the 2-mile-deep well, so it wouldn't leak into the drinking water aquifer.

Opposition has come from people who say it could contaminate the water supply in the area and trucks would disrupt one of the prime habitats of the endangered Florida panther.

One person who wrote a letter to state regulators said there have been a large number of panthers killed on roads surrounding the proposed well. Another person wrote it would be near historical sites on Seminole Tribal lands. The tribe has requested a survey of the area for its cultural significance.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.

There are several "legacy" wells in the Everglades that have been pumping modest amounts of oil there for decades.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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