Residents and environmentalists are concerned about the impacts that oil drilling in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County could have on drinking water and Florida panther habitat.
The News-Press reports that Collier Resources, the company jointly owned by Barron Collier and Collier Enterprises that manages more than 800,000 mineral acres throughout Collier, Lee and Hendry counties, leased 115,000 acres to the Dan A. Hughes Company in Beeville, Texas.
Officials say the company seeks to find out whether there's potential for oil exploration in the area.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing on March 11 in Naples.
The South Florida Wildlands Association wants to challenge the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's approval of an oil and gas drilling permit on the property.