Conservancy of SW FL

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Action Alert
Big Cypress Damage may Continue

Despite the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s objections, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the National Park Service (NPS) permitted the Texas-based Burnett Oil Company, Inc. (Burnett Oil) to test for oil throughout 110-square miles in the Everglades’ Big Cypress National Preserve. The Conservancy has monitored Burnett Oil’s hunt for oil since it began almost two years ago. The damage to wetlands and Florida panther habitat is shocking! It validates the concerns we expressed before the federal and state permits were issued. Today we are left with unprecedented environmental damage. 

Burnett’s massive “vibroseis” trucks, used to look for oil and gas beneath the surface of Big Cypress, have created ruts, nearly two-feet deep in some cases, scarring the face of our national preserve. Native plants, such as mature cypress trees, were destroyed. The hydrology of the Preserve was altered. The damages far exceed what was imagined at the time the agencies authorized the oil exploration. For example, Burnett Oil was supposed to restore environmental damage concurrently with their daily operations, and failed to do so.

Unfortunately, both the state and federal agencies tasked with protecting Big Cypress’ natural resources refuse to hold Burnett Oil accountable. We’ve asked the agencies to revoke, or at a minimum suspend, Burnett’s Oil’s permits in order to evaluate the damage it has already done and require restoration.

To date, the agencies have refused to suspend or revoke Burnett Oil’s permits or require Burnett to implement a comprehensive restoration plan. In fact, the agencies have not even issued any warnings to Burnett about permit violations. 

Please contact the National Park Service and Florida Department of Environmental Protection and tell them to put a stop to oil exploration in Big Cypress National Preserve and require comprehensive restoration of the damage already caused in wetlands and Florida panther habitat.

Thank you for taking action to protect Southwest Florida’s unique natural resources!

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Acting NPS Superintendent Laura Perdices
FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein
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I am writing to ask your agencies to put a stop to Burnett Oil Company Inc.ís damaging oil exploration in Big Cypress National Preserve.
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The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has collected evidence clearly showing that Burnett Oil has repeatedly failed to adhere to the conditions in the National Park Service and Florida Department of Environmental Protection permits. Perhaps most egregious, Burnett Oil has failed to restore the damage it did to sensitive wetlands and Florida panther habitat.
The damages to wetlands is far more extensive than the damages anticipated by Burnett Oilís permits. Therefore, your agencies should halt the oil exploration to evaluate the environmental damage, and the impacts to threatened and endangered speciesí habitats.
Your agencies have the authority to immediately stop further damage to Big Cypress and demand restoration.
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Please put a stop to Burnettís oil exploration immediately, require comprehensive restoration and mitigation, and protect our beloved Western Everglades!
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