COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -There are 1,400 acres of unused land at the Immokalee Airport. Executive Director for the Collier County Airport Authority, Chris Curry, said if they're able to tap what's underneath it, they could potentially bring in enough revenue to support the three airports in the county.
"We would lease the land for exploration and then we would also tie into the lease, royalites," said Curry.
Royalties from the discovery of gas or oil, if they find anything.
"It's a very low cost, type of initiative for the airport. But if royalties are discovered, I would say that there is no other single activity that would bring in that much benefits to the airport," said Curry.
Curry said it would mean they'd no longer need money from tax payers. One Coliler County resident and member of the organization, Preserve Our Paradise, said he's willing to pay more to stop drilling.
"I would personally be willing to pay a couple of dollars extra on my property taxes if it means that I have an opportunity to have clean aquifer that I can drink from for my family and my animals," said Joe Mule'.
The oil rig would neen to be approved by County Commissioners and the Federal Aviation Administration. But Curry said there are airports across the country who lease their land for oil and gas exploration. And unlikethe potential oil rig in Golden Gate Estates, Curry said they have the luxury of being isolated.
"I would say about two miles from any residences."
Right now, the airport earns revenue from leasing the land and fuel sales. Curry said the Immokalee Airport actually had a lease back in the 1980's to this same idea, but he doesn't believe any drilling was done. He hopes to have proposals in front of the County Commissioners later this summer.