Judge rules against oil drilling plan in Florida’s Big Cypress

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An administrative law judge Tuesday backed the Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of a proposal to drill an exploratory oil well in Collier County.

Judge Francine Ffolkes, in an 18-page recommended order, said Trend Exploration, LLC, had not shown a likelihood of finding oil in an area of the Big Cypress Swamp.

Ffolkes wrote that other drilling projects near the proposed site had failed.

“The preponderance of the evidence in this case establishes there is no proven or indicated likelihood of the presence of oil on a commercially profitable basis,” the recommended order said. “The greater weight of the evidence warrants against the exploration and extraction of oil in this case.”

Trend Exploration applied for a drilling permit in March 2021, but the Department of Environmental Protection denied the proposal in November 2021.

Under administrative law, Tuesday’s recommended order will go to the Department of Environmental Protection for final action.

Here is WMNF’s coverage of this issue from 2014 and 2016.

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