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National Park Service Asks for Public Input on Gas and Oil Exploration in Big Cypress Preserve

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The National Park Service is asking for public comment over a Texas based oil-company’s proposal to look for gas and oil in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County.

There are currently two active oil extraction sites within the preserve.

The Burnett Oil Company wants to use vibrations to look for oil and gas within the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The company leases mineral rights from the Collier Resources Company. That’s because when the preserve was created in 1974, Congress allowed the former owners of the land to keep their mineral rights.

Big Cypress spokesperson Bob DeGross said this process is part of their responsibility in managing the preserve.

“It’s our responsibility to accept these plans and go through the process and identify ways that potential plans might impact resources and if there are resources that are impacted, how those impacts can be avoided, mitigated or modified for,” he said.

DeGross said the last company to submit a plan to look for oil and gas in the preserve was in 2003 or '04. The operators abandoned the plan.

The public has until July 17 to comment. Future steps will include an environmental assessment and more public comment.

Read the proposed plan here:

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.