Plans for oil wells near panther refuge scuttled


The Associated Press

A Texas drilling company has abandoned plans for two exploratory oil wells near endangered panther habitat in southwest Florida.

In a letter Friday to Collier County commissioners, Dan A. Hughes Company said it was calling off drilling plans near Immokalee and Golden Gate Estates.

Operations at a well near the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary will continue. Company officials said they were making the announcement "with the knowledge that our activities in the region have caused no harm to the environment and have been fully compliant with Florida law."

Environmental advocates had protested the company's plans to drill near the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. In June an administrative law judge recommended that the state issue a permit for that drilling, saying Florida wildlife and other natural resources were not at risk.

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