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Debate on Everglades drilling revived by Bachmann
Rep. Bachmann's comments on Everglades oil drilling revive old debate, worry environmentalists
By The Associated Press

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) ' Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's recent comment that she would consider allowing more oil drilling in Florida's Everglades has reopened a debate that once seemed closed.

The Minnesota congresswoman's idea is not new and there is limited drilling in the Everglades today. Collier Resources Co. pulls about 2,800 barrels of oil a day from a section of the Everglades called the Big Cypress National Preserve. That's down from a peak of 14,000 barrels in the 1970s.

In 2002, President George W. Bush announced a $120 million plan to buy back drilling rights from the company. But Congress refused to approve the plan amid allegations the government was overpaying. It was estimated there were about 40 million barrels of oil under the Collier tract, about how much the U.S. consumes in two days.

An Interior Department spokesman said he couldn't comment on Bachmann's remarks but that Everglades restoration remains the focus.

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