Everglades Oil: What's to Drill?

In fact, nine wells have been pumping oil from a small section of the Everglades since the early 1940s.

Aerial view of an Everglades housing development in Florida. The debate over drilling in the Everglades is not dead yet, presidential candidate Bachman and Gov. Scott are raising it and a small industry that started in the 1940s never stopped drilling, despite the low-quality reserves there | Corbis

Comments by two politicians in the past week have raised a long-dormant debate over oil drilling in South Florida’s huge freshwater wetland. What many people consider a precious natural treasure and home to rare and endangered plants and animals – also sits atop an unknown amount of petroleum.

In fact, nine wells have been pumping oil from a small section of the Everglades since the early 1940s — low-grade crude used for lubrication and paving roads.

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During a campaign visit to Florida last week, GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachman said last week that she would support limited oil drilling.

“The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness. 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. “Of course it needs to be done responsibly. If we can’t responsibly access energy in the Everglades then we shouldn’t do it.”

. . .

Edward Glab, professor at Florida International University and an expert in oil and gas drilling, said the reserves are low-quality and may be hard to clean up.

“The question in my own mind is whether the juice is worth the squeeze,” Glab told Minnesota Public Radio. “[The Everglades] is an extraordinary important and fragile ecosystem… There are other places we could go that would be far less risky with greater quantities of oil.”

Read: “Everglades Oil: What’s to Drill?,“ an article by DiscoveryNews.

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