Six groups sue to block testing for oil in Everglades

Big Cypress National Preserve
Big Cypress National Preserve

Six environmental protection groups sued the National Park Service to block testing for oil on land inside Big Cypress National Preserve, a national park in the Everglades.

The National Park Service  determined in May that a private company’s plan to test for oil reserves in the Big Cypress National Preserve wouldn’t have a major impact on plants and wildlife there.

A business called Burnett Oil Co.  has fought for years to perform seismic testing to find oil on 30,000 acres inside in the 234,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve, comprised of both public land and privately owned parcels.

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Six environmental groups including the South Florida Wildlands Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council  filed suit last week to block Burnett Oil, naming among the defendants the National Park Service and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Their lawsuit alleges the National Park Service failed to address the impact of Burnett’s oil-testing plan on the Big Cypress National Preserve, which would involve the use seismic-wave technology to shake the ground in search of oil beneath.

Charges in the suit include allegations that the National Park Service violated part of the federal Administrative Procedure Act and National Environmental Policy Act. [Miami New Times] — Mike Seemuth