Environment

Oil company gets OK to expand oil search in South Florida preserve

On Friday a Texas oil company won permission to expand its search for oil in the Big Cypress National Preserve using a massive thumper truck that sends vibrations deep underground. Another company has been pumping oil from two locations, including Racoon Point, pictured here, for decades.
On Friday a Texas oil company won permission to expand its search for oil in the Big Cypress National Preserve using a massive thumper truck that sends vibrations deep underground. Another company has been pumping oil from two locations, including Racoon Point, pictured here, for decades. Miami Herald File

A Texas company won approval Friday to explore for oil at Big Cypress National Preserve, after the National Park Service concluded the work would have no significant environmental impact.

Environmentalists immediately denounced the decision, saying it will cause lasting damage to some of the last extensive wildlife habitat left in South Florida.

Burnett Oil Co. has requested permission to use special off-road vehicles to pound the ground with seven-inch-thick steel plates, creating vibrations to reveal the presence of the geological structures that could contain oil. The work would take place across 70,000 acres straddling Alligator Alley about 10 miles west of the Broward County line, a region of cypress and pine forest, swamps and wet prairies that’s home to Florida panthers, black bears and much more wildlife.

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