Chevron says it will appeal a recent preliminary ruling by theState of Florida against its development of the Destin Dome 56Unit, about 25 miles offshore from Pensacola, FL.

In a February letter to Chevron and the Minerals ManagementService (MMS), Florida’s Department of Community Affairs – thestate’s lead coastal management agency – said Chevron had providedthe state with insufficient information on the project at a datetoo late to allow for follow-up and clarification. The Floridaagency said it wants more time to review the project with morecomplete information. “Although Chevron provided a briefdescription of activities expected over the life of its facility,the scope and content of this assessment does not address the fulleffects of this development,” the letter reads. “The data andinformation submitted to date have not permitted the State tosufficiently analyze the effects to ocean, coastal, land, human,air, social and economic resources.”

Chevron said it will appeal the state decision to the U.S.Department of Commerce. A spokesman said the company’s state filingwas about the most comprehensive such filing ever, accounting for20 volumes with a stacked height of three to four feet. An appealcould take 18 months or more to complete.

The MMS is preparing an environmental impact statement onChevron’s Destin Dome plans. The company’s proposal outlines plansto develop and produce up to 21 gas wells in the Destin Dome 56Unit, about 15 miles from Florida waters. Construction over aboutfive years would include platform facilities and about 70 miles ofpipeline. Production would be expected to continue well into thenext decade. “The area that would be impacted by the proposedactivities would likely exceed 100 square miles,” Florida’sDepartment of Community Affairs wrote. “The magnitude of thisproject dictates that careful and thorough evaluation of thepotential impacts to Florida’s coastal and marine resources bemade.”

The agency voiced concern Destin Dome development likely wouldencourage other lease holders to proceed with exploration,development and production, “.thus exposing Florida and itssensitive marine and coastal resources to increased risk inherentin offshore development. The State is very concerned about thepotential demand for the escalation of activity associated withincreased exploration, development and production in the easternGulf of Mexico.”

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