The U.S. National Park Service has given an initial green light to a proposal to search for oil in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve by detonating dynamite in 14,700 holes and drilling an 11,800-foot exploratory well. The preserve is a watershed for the Everglades and home to the endangered Florida panther and other protected species. The proposal is now awaiting approval from the regional park service director, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the state of Florida. Environmentalist fear oil exploration could harm wildlife in the preserve and alter water flows into the Everglades. The Collier Resources Company, which is seeking permission to drill, already extracts about 2,200 barrels of crude oil per day from two wells in the preserve, a quantity that the company predicts could increase to 10,000 barrels per day if its request is approved and oil is discovered.
Get Grist in your inbox