Broward County Commission to Oppose Everglades Drilling (Which Already Exists)

In next Wednesday's meeting, the Broward County Commission will move to adopt language in its state and federal legislative programs "opposing any oil drilling or exploration in or around the Everglades."

The legislative programs are a set agenda of issues that the County Commission hires lobbyists to push for in both Tallahassee and Washington. Previously, the county's state and federal programs opposed oil drilling within Florida's territorial seas or continental shelf.

In response to recent comments, most notably by whistling teakettle Michele Bachmann, indicating that

the Everglades could be opened up to oil drilling, the commission will move to explicitly oppose that as well.

According to the commission agenda:

In response to recent suggestions that "responsible" oil drilling could be supported in the Everglades, adding a provision to both programs clarifying that the County also opposes any drilling or exploration in the Everglades is recommended. Authorizing drilling in the Everglades would only increase the threat to Florida's beaches and economy already presented by existing offshore drilling and exploration while also degrading one of the country's most unique natural environments.

Bachmann wants domestic oil. "Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that's in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is," she said last month. Other politicians were quick to criticize, and Rick Scott agreed with cautious drilling in the Glades until backpedaling amid popular opposition.

And then Allen West sent her a letter, setting himself up to be branded as a "radical environmentalist."

Only one problem, folks. We're already drilling for oil in the Everglades. According to a Sun-Sentinel article that poked a hole in all the supposedly preventative alarmism of the past weeks:

BreitBurn Energy Partners, a Los Angeles company that has acquired leases on three South Florida oil fields, drilled five new wells in 2010 and 2011 on the eastern edge of Big Cypress National Preserve, a rugged wilderness inhabited by panthers, blackbears and more than two dozen other protected species.

Big Cypress is also the subject of some debate on whether to allow hunting in the addition lands, a small section of the preserve that's still off-limits to hunting, for now. Pedro Ramos, the preserve's superintendent, oversees both issues.

"We have not had any significant issues from their operations," he said of the active wells to the Sun-Sentinel.

We'll reach out to BreitBurn to see if they have an opinion on the county's apparent disapproval of their quiet drilling operations in the River of Grass.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph