Urgent: One of our nation's natural gems, the Everglades, may be opened up for fracking if we don't act fast. Click here to send comments to the National Parks Service and help stop a fracked up Florida future.
As an activist, I pride myself on always being prepared to deal with any situation. But I was not ready for the latest developments in Florida: The Florida Everglades is one of the greatest natural gems, not just in the state, not just in the nation, but the entire world. Known for its rich biodiversity and the indigenous tribes who call it home, there really is no place like it - but if we don't act fast, they could seriously frack the everglades, and destroy this international treasure forever.
A Texas oil company, Burnett Oil, has submitted an application to the National Park Service (NPS) to explore for oil and natural gas in the Big Cypress National Preserve next to the Everglades. Given the area's geology, they're likely to find some of those fossil fuels, and to use the extreme drilling technique of fracking to get at them.1 The fracking would be bad enough, but the exploration process itself will do plenty of damage to the area's endangered species including the Florida Panther, of which only 180 remain. Vibrations from seismic testing could scare off denning female Panthers, placing the species in even more peril.2
But don't expect any support from the two agencies that are supposed to protect Big Cypress and its wildlife. NPS and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are gung ho about the testing and fracking prospects, even agreeing to a lenient environmental assessment, as opposed to a tougher environmental impact statement, to make things easier on Burnett Oil.3 That's why it's critical we send as many comments to NPS before December 20. Will you click here and sound off on this fracking crazy idea.
Burnett Oil is in a powerful position. Since they are being granted leasing rights by powerful land owners, they actually have the right to test, drill and frack as much as they want. The only thing we can do to stop them is force an Environmental Impact Statement by bombarding them with comments. And NPS know this, which is why they are only accepting comments in a specific format. When you click the links above or below, we'll send you directly to their comments page. Although NPS thinks they can discourage people from commenting, I know you are going to prove them wrong.
If you have never been to Big Cypress, just look at some pictures online5 or ask someone who has been there to get an idea of what's at stake. And if that doesn't convince you, just listen to some of the fears of the folks who live there. Betty Osceola, a member of the Miccosukee Tribe shared, "This land, the Everglades, they protected us in our time of need -- she provided us food, she provided us shelter, she provided us water. As indigenous people, it's our turn to take up and speak for her."2
But the NPS is not listening to Betty or other Floridians, yet. In fact, according to NPS, "Burnett Oil will not significantly damage the landscape or wildlife when conducting seismic test on the 110,000 acre Big Cypress National Preserve."4 Give me a fracking break.
If we are going to stop the destruction of one of the finest pieces of land on the planet, we're all going to have to speak our minds, and quickly. Please click here to send your comments to NPS and let them know this plan is just a fracking bad idea.
Thanks for taking action,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Big Cypress Protection Brigade.
1. Herzog, Katie. Fracking Florida! Oil Company Seeks to Drill In The Everglades. The Grist. December 10, 2015.
2. Allen, Greg. Environmentalists Sound Alarm on Proposed Drilling Near Florida Everglades. NPR. December 10, 2015.
3. Gillis, Chad. NPS: No Harm in Seismic Testing. newspress.com. December 4, 2015.
4. Borns, Patricia. Oil Testing Draws Big Crowd to Big Cypress. newspress.com. December 9, 2015.
5. Yahoo images, big cypress wilderness