GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla - A Collier County community is fired up after a controversial project was approved to drill for oil right near their homes.
The wells would go in Golden Gate Estates near Desoto Boulevard and 24th Avenue Southeast just north of Alligator Alley.
Those who have been fighting this fight from the beginning tell me their disappointed and while there's still time to challenge the Department of Environmental Protection's decision, they're doubtful they can win.
"I was extremely disappointed because we had had some hope," says Jaime Duran. Duran lives 1,000 feet away from the area where Texas based Dan A. Huges plans to start drilling for oil.
"It's unprecedented in SWFL. Most of the wells they have drilled in the past have been away from homes," says Duran.
Duran is one of dozens of residents who have protested the plan. Fears of explosions, dirty drinking water and endangering wildlife are the main concerns. But, DEP officials say they looked at more than 600 public comments before deciding to approve the permits.
"We felt totally deflated. I think it's a criminal act by the DEP and everyone who is telling them to approve this well," says Duran.
The drilling could start as early as next month is no one challenges the ruling, but anyone who feels affected by the drilling has 21 days to appeal.
"We can't afford to match the legal force that Collier Resources and Dan A. Hughes have. Just can't afford it," says Duran. "Until those environmental groups get together and decide to follow through with it, nothing is going to happen."