FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida will buy 20,000 acres (8,000 hectares) of land in the environmentally sensitive Everglades to prevent oil drilling in the area, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

In a news release, the Republican governor said the cost would be as much as $18 million depending on when the deal closes.

“We will permanently save this land,” DeSantis said at a news conference at Everglades Holiday Park west of Fort Lauderdale. “It will be largest wetlands acquisition in a decade.”

The property will be purchased from Kanter Real Estate LLC, which had obtained approval for exploratory oil wells in the Everglades. Lawsuits were filed to stop the plan, but this decision by the governor changes the legal landscape.

According to testimony by the company’s expert, the project had a 23% chance of finding oil. If oil were found, the company’s expert said it could be possible to extract 180,000 to 10 million barrels.

Environmental groups contended the potential for oil was not worth exposing one the Everglades to the possible cost of such production.