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Everglades oil drilling well rejected by the state

 Big Cypress National Preserve
Flickr.com
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Big Cypress National Preserve

The state has denied a request to dig exploratory oil wells near the Everglades.

A ruling by the state Department of Environmental Protection on Friday rejected the application by Trend Exploration of North Fort Myers. The letter states drilling the wells could adversely impact water supplies and wildlife in the area, which includes habitat for the endangered Florida panther.

The ruling determined:

  • The proposed well is located in the environmentally sensitive Big Cypress watershed.

  • It would be adjacent to areas that would likely be developed.
  • The nearest drilling projects to the proposed sites were dry holes and there has been no exploratory drilling there in 40 years.
  • There is "insufficient geological data" to indicate the likelihood of oil in the area.
  • The company failed to ensure there would be no permanent impact on wildlife in the area, including rare and endangered species.
  • Opposition has come from people who say it could contaminate the water supply in the area and trucks would disrupt one of the prime habitats of the Florida panther. One person who wrote a letter to state regulators said there have been a large number of panther roadkills in areas surrounding the proposed well. Another person wrote it would be near historical sites on Seminole Tribal lands. The tribe has requested a survey of the area for its cultural significance.

    Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.

    Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.