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Florida denies oil drilling permit near Big Cypress. Company will appeal and try again

Aerial photo shows an existing oil drilling operations in the Big Cypress National Preserve
Miami Herald

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has rejected a permit application from a North Fort Myers company to drill an exploratory oil well north of Immokalee in Collier County, citing the potential for negative impacts on wildlife like the protected gopher tortoise and on water resources.

South Florida water managers and the local water and sewer district had warned that the project threatened drinking water supplies in the region, and environmentalists said that oil exploration in the area — part of the Big Cypress watershed and the greater Everglades — could harm protected species like the Florida panther, the eastern indigo snake and the rare ghost orchid, which are found in the region’s unique cypress swamps, marl prairies, hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests.

Trend Exploration will appeal the decision and try again for the permit, said company manager John M. Cheeseman. He said the location for the well remains the same, after it was moved previously to account for the presence of wetlands.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

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