TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Broward County and the city of Miramar have asked the 1st District Court of Appeal to reconsider a ruling that would require the state to issue a permit for exploratory oil drilling in the Everglades.
The local governments, which had intervened in the case, filed a motion late Wednesday, a little more than two weeks after a three-judge panel of the court ruled in favor of Broward County landowner Kanter Real Estate, LLC.
The motion seeks a rehearing by the panel, a rehearing by the full appeals court or what is known as “certification” of the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
The three-judge panel on Feb. 5 ruled that the state Department of Environmental Protection improperly rejected a recommended order by an administrative law judge, who said in 2017 that a permit should be approved for Kanter to drill an exploratory well.
Kanter, which owns about 20,000 acres in Broward County, applied in 2015 to drill an exploratory oil well on about five acres of its land in the Everglades.
The department denied a permit, leading Kanter to take the case to an administrative law judge. In the motion filed Wednesday, Broward County and Miramar argued, in part, that the appeals court did not allow the parties to address the impact of a ballot measure, known as Amendment 6, that passed in November.
The constitutional amendment did away with a requirement that obligated courts to defer to agency interpretations of laws and rules. Attorneys for Broward County and Miramar contend that an unresolved issue is whether the ballot measure should apply retroactively to older cases, such as the drilling dispute.
“The legal issue of whether Amendment 6 is retroactive is of paramount concern and one that the parties should have had an opportunity to be heard on,” the motion said. “Due process requires that parties on appeal have a full and fair opportunity to brief the issues upon which the court is to base its decision.”
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