Several environmental groups are suing the National Park Service to stop oil and gas exploration in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve.
Jaclyn Lopez is Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups. She says permitted oil exploration in Big Cypress by Texas-Based Burnett Oil Company could harm drinking water and affect many different species of wildlife, including the Florida Panther.
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Other groups in the lawsuit against the National Park Service are the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Earthworks and South Florida Wildlands Association.
In an email statement, Associated Industries of Florida senior vice president of state and federal affairs Brewster Bevis writes:
“This lawsuit threatens the right of companies to do business in the State of Florida. Oil and gas exploration is one of the most heavily regulated industries, and Burnett has met all of the strict requirements set forth by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the National Park Service. This lawsuit is an attempt to win in the court of law what they could not win through the open and transparent public review process.”