Tags: Feds | Curb | Oil | Drilling | Florida

Feds Curb Oil Drilling in Florida

Wednesday, 29 May 2002 12:00 AM

The negotiated agreement includes Destin Dome, a rich deposit of natural gas 25 miles south of Pensacola. Anti-energy activists hailed the announcement.

"The actions we are taking today to preserve Florida's environment are truly unprecedented," said Gov. Bush. "Today, thanks to the president's support, we are reversing the momentum of nearly half a century in Florida and guaranteeing the preservation of our environment-based economy and quality of life."

The government will buy offshore leases from Chevron, Conoco and Murphy Oil for $115 million. It also will pay Collier Resources $120 million for preventing oil and gas exploration in Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Gov. Bush said the announcement ended any potential for new oil rigs in the Everglades and was the next step in the Everglades restoration project, the largest in history.

"The president and Gov. Bush have negotiated a defining moment in Florida's environmental history," said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary David Struhs. "America's best beaches and America's Everglades are now better protected than ever before for this and future generations," Struhs said.

In Miami, Mark Ferrulo, director of left-wing, so-called Florida Public Interest Research Group, called the settlement with the oil companies "a significant victory" for environmentalists.

"I'm doing back flips," he said. "I can't say we were overly optimistic that we were going to win. Chevron was only one decision from being able to build the first drilling operation off our state's pristine Panhandle beaches."

He complained: "There are still dozens of leases that remain off the coast of Florida. Until the last active lease off the Florida coast is gone, we need to remain vigilant."

Last year, the president and the governor announced a proposal to eliminate plans for any new offshore drilling off Florida's coast. As a result, the federal government reduced plans for oil and gas lease sales off Florida's west coast by 75 percent.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The negotiated agreement includes Destin Dome, a rich deposit of natural gas 25 miles south of Pensacola. Anti-energy activists hailed the announcement. The actions we are taking today to preserve Florida's environment are truly unprecedented, said Gov. Bush. Today,...
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2002-00-29
Wednesday, 29 May 2002 12:00 AM
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