Letter Apr 14, 2016

30 Biologists Oppose Seismic Testing Plan for Big Cypress

Big Cypress Seismic Testing Scientist Letter (206 KB)

30 biologists from universities and organizations throughout Florida and the Southeast sent a letter to Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell asking her to reject a seismic testing plan that would put 70,000 acres of the park at risk, including habitat for the critically endangered Florida panther.

The scientists, from the University of Florida, Duke University, University of Central Florida, University of Miami, Florida International University, and others, quoted “deficiencies in the current proposal, the lack of adequate scientific analysis, and the potential impacts to unique habitats that are home to imperiled plants and animals” as their reasons the plan should be rejected.

Even the National Park Service knows that their environmental review is insufficient. A Freedom of Information Act request from the South Florida Wildlands Association obtained an internal Park Service report detailing a test-run of the Vibroseis equipment in Big Cypress that took place last year. According to the NPS report, the test was “clearly a failure.” The 30-ton Vibroseis truck almost immediately got stuck, significantly impacting the wetland. According to the Park Service’s internal report, the failed test-run “clearly refuted” Burnett’s claim that there would be no impacts to wetlands or wilderness. The report concluded that the impacts of the full-scale testing could be significant, and that more environmental review may be warranted. That review has not been done.