Oil Drilling Permit Near Big Cypress Denied Over Environmental Concerns

Audubon applauds the rejection of the permit.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection rejected an application for a proposed exploratory oil well in Immokalee. In their denial, the agency cited concerns about potential impacts to water resources, wildlife, wetlands, and drinking water supplies in the area.

The proposed oil well would have been located in Collier County within the Big Cypress watershed and just a stone’s throw from important conservation lands like Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, and Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. These conservation lands are of critical importance to the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and are home to listed species like the Florida panther, gopher tortoise, and ghost orchid

“Immokalee is not at all like coastal cities — it is a predominately agricultural community that relies on farmworkers from Haiti, Central America, and Mexico to support the farming economy. If an oil well were proposed elsewhere in the state, there would be an uproar of opposition. This is clearly an equity issue and we have to not only stand in defense of the environment, but of the Immokalee community.”— Brad Cornell, Southwest Florida Policy Associate for Audubon Florida.

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