Worries and Questions Swirl Around Big Cypress Oil Exploration

Environmentalists are worried that oil derricks could dot the Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee. They hope to stop seismic testing for oil in the preserve before a federal judge rules on the case.

A federal judge in Fort Myers has already rejected the groups' request for an expedited ruling on a preliminary injunction against Texas-based Burnett Oil Co. of Fort Worth, Texas.  

The judge wrote that he'd issue a final ruling "as expeditiously as possible." 

In a court filing related to the case last month, Burnett reported that it intended to start the preliminary phase of the testing March 27 and begin the seismic tests "on or about April 19," which is Wednesday.

Burnett wants to begin seismic testing before the summer rainy season.  His state permit expires July 15th.

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