Apalachicola Riverkeeper Challenges Oil Drilling Permit


June 7, 2024

Apalachicola Riverkeeper Files Legal Challenge to Block Oil Drilling Permit

Apalachicola, FL ––      Apalachicola Riverkeeper has announced a legal challenge to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Notice of Intent to issue a permit to Clearwater Land and Minerals FLA, LLC. This permit would allow exploratory oil and gas drilling within the floodplain and adjacent to the Apalachicola River. Apalachicola Riverkeeper will be asking an administrative law judge to issue a recommended order to deny the permit based on several factors, including the potential damage to the river, its surrounding ecosystems, and local economies.

“Our organization works tirelessly on behalf of our members and the surrounding communities to protect, restore, and advocate for the Apalachicola River and its ecosystem,” said Cameron Baxley, Apalachicola Riverkeeper. “Petroleum drilling and the associated industrial activities pose significant threats to the exceptional environmental quality, economic, recreational, and scenic values that this world-class river and bay provide to our region.”

The Apalachicola Bay, one of the most productive estuaries in the northern hemisphere, is of major economic and ecological importance to the entire region, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The introduction of industrial pollutants from drilling could severely damage surface and groundwater quality, and the biologic and geologic integrity of the area.

Significant investments have been made by public, private, and individual contributors to restore and preserve the Apalachicola River and Bay. “The prospect of industrial oil production threatens to undermine these restoration efforts and the substantial financial investments made by taxpayers and donors including our members,” Baxley emphasized. “These wells are not in the public interest of those who derive income, recreation, inspiration, and quality of life from the Apalachicola River and Bay.”

“This river basin is one of North America’s last near pristine ecosystems that retains much of its incredible biological diversity,” said Baxley. “With 1,300 species of plants, 131 species of fish, and over 120 species of amphibians and reptiles, it is vital to protect this unique habitat.”

Apalachicola Riverkeeper and its members are committed to preserving this great American river for future generations. “We are filing this challenge because the Apalachicola River provides so much to so many, and it deserves to be protected,” Baxley concluded.

 About the Apalachicola River

The Apalachicola River Floodplain is a connected aquatic habitat that is frequently inundated during flood events, causing water to flow back into the river. This hydrological connection risks carrying contaminants from the drill site back into the river, jeopardizing the natural system that depends on clean, fresh water and essential nutrients.

Recognized for its rich biodiversity, high water quality, and economic productivity, the Apalachicola River Basin has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, an Outstanding Florida Water, a Florida Aquatic Preserve, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, a Natural Resources Defense Council ”Biogem”.

For more information visit ARK website.

Here is a LINK to PHOTOS of the Apalachicola River Basin.

Dead Lakes, part of the Chipola River, by Doug Alderson
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top