GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla - Poor water quality, contamination and even explosions. Those concerns remain front and center among a group of Golden Gate Estates residents. Neighbors in the area are concerned about plans for three oil wells right in their backyard.
Next week, they'll take their fears and frustration to the government. They're gearing up to fight for their safety when they meet face to face with the Department of Environmental Protection.
"Every person in the state of florida has an obligation to stop this because it's absolutely unconscionable. It's not what we want in south Florida," says Karen Dwyer with Preserve our Paradise.
Earlier this year, Dan A. Hughes Company from Texas applied for drilling permits to set up three oil wells in Golden Gate Estates.
The wells are just a thousand feet away from Pamela Duran's home. "We are in the evacuation zone," says Duran. "31 families are. Explosions are still a possibility."
Friday night, about two dozen neighbors spent their time strategizing, organizing talking points and figuring out the best way to get their concerns across to the DEP. At the top of the list is water quality and public safety.
"We the citizens do have the right to clean water and a fresh environment. I think we all deserve that for us and our children," says Frank Cummings of Golden Gate Estates.
"The drilling is going through four of our aquifers, all of our fresh water aquifers so if the pipes fail we're going to contaminate all of our fresh drinking water," adds Dwyer.
Several months ago, a spokesperson with Dan A. Hughes Company tried to address the groups concerns. "You're taking a bigger risk when you put you and your children in a car," says Hank Kremers back in May.
These residents admit it will be an uphill battle, but they feel passionate about the fight and confident they can win.
"I think we're more educated now about the process and I don't think we can be as bullied now," says Duran. "We're not just taking it's safe because I said so."
The meeting with the DEP is set for Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. At the Golden Gate Community Center. As for when the DEP will make a decision on the permit, we're told there's no firm deadline.