For Immediate Release, April 8, 2021

Contact:

Betty Osceola, oochopee@aol.com
Rev. Houston Cypress, (786) 897-4582, lovetheeverglades@gmail.com
Jaclyn Lopez, Center for Biological Diversity, (727) 490-9190, jlopez@biologicaldiversity.org
Emily Deanne, National Resources Defense Council, (860) 318-6636, edeanne@nrdc.org

Hike, Rally to Save Everglades’ Big Cypress Set for Saturday

National Preserve Threatened by Oil Drilling

BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE, Fla.— At 9 a.m. on Saturday conservation advocates Betty Osceola and the Rev. Houston Cypress will lead environmental leaders and the media on a socially distanced hike in Big Cypress National Preserve along the route of a proposed oil well pad access road.

A press conference and socially distanced rally will follow the hike. Supporters can follow the event live online.

Big Cypress National Preserve is part of the western Everglades, a unit of the National Park System. It provides vital habitat for endangered Florida panthers and Florida bonneted bats, as well as other birds and wildlife, and is home to unique plants and namesake trees.

Extracting oil in Big Cypress is detrimental to its purpose and would diminish the enjoyment of future generations. It directly conflicts with President Biden’s initiatives to combat the climate crisis, protect public health, deliver environmental justice and conserve lands, water and biodiversity.

The proposed well sites are near Miccosukee tribal land and Seminole Tribe cultural resources.

What: Hike, press conference and rally to save Big Cypress National Preserve from oil drilling. Please note: Social distancing and COVID-19 precautions MUST be respected.

When: Saturday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; hike at 9 a.m.; press conference and rally at 4 p.m. at the parking lot east of the fire station at Interstate 75 mile-marker 63 south.

Where: Big Cypress National Preserve at the Florida National Scenic Trail trailhead near I-75 mile-marker 63 south and online.

Who: Speakers include Betty Osceola, a Miccosukee grandmother who defends the right of future generations and Mother Earth to exist; the Rev. Houston Cypress, a two-spirit poet, author, artist and activist from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida; Jaclyn Lopez, Center for Biological Diversity Florida director; and others.

While Big Cypress National Preserve is a unit of the national park system, some of the oil and gas beneath the preserve is privately owned by corporate entities. The Texas-based Burnett Oil Company leases privately owned oil beneath the preserve from Collier Resources Company, according to permit applications submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Burnett Oil is requesting permission to build new roads and oil well pads in the preserve.

Burnett Oil Company’s oil exploration operations in 2017 and 2018 already severely damaged wetlands and namesake cypress trees in this delicate ecosystem.

Big Cypress National Preserve oil exploration damage
Oil exploration damage in Big Cypress National Preserve/Quest Ecology Image is available for media use.

Love the Everglades Movement is a full spectrum movement advocating for improved water quality and the integrity of the circle of life in the greater Everglades.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.