Crude Motives

Members of the Collier family want to explore for oil in the nature preserve they helped create

Browder wants to ensure that the two nearby national parks, Everglades and Biscayne, are protected. "If the Colliers or anyone else proposes a kind of economic development that is not an airport or industrial development for Homestead ... that would be a much better use," Browder opines.

The Miami Sierra Club and the Tropical Audubon Society have both met with representatives of the Collier family to discuss the idea. "We haven't endorsed it one way or another," says Don Chinquina, Tropical Audubon's executive director. "It's just kind of intriguing at this point."

Yet county leaders, who are awaiting a federal transfer of the property, pledge it will be deeded to HABDI as promised. If not, litigation will likely follow.

Meanwhile Collier family representatives continue their efforts to secure permits. "What we won't do is stop the process, since we already did that once," Roy Cawley declares. The public will decide whether land will be swapped. "It's pretty much a community judgment about which way it goes," he adds.

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