Turtle Island Restoration Network recently joined a number of environmental and community organizations calling on the National Park Service (NPS) to require Burnett Oil to fully compensate for wetland damage the company caused in Big Cypress National Preserve. In addition, the groups called for the NPS to require Burnett Oil to fully restore and revegetate all the seismic survey lines—as required by federal and state permits—that still remain visible today.

The damage caused when Burnett Oil explored for oil in the national preserve in 2017 and 2018 remains today. Years later, the soils in the area are compacted and rutted. The areas damaged by the work are less diverse than before and largely absent of cypress tree regeneration. The damaged areas within the Preserve occur in wetlands located in the heart of the Everglades ecosystem. Additionally, these damaged areas are also located near the Florida National Scenic Trail, a major recreational trail and access point. 

The groups that signed the letter stated the NPS should require Burnett Oil to replant native cypress trees, the namesake of the national preserve. After replanting, the oil company should monitor and maintain to ensure successful replanting. Additionally, these tasks should be done without the use of heavy machinery.

The damage done to Big Cypress National Preserve should be fully restored, and the NPS should play a role in requiring Burnett Oil to do their part. You can read the letter in its entirety here.