As I have mentioned here many times, Florida's environment is under assault. Under Rick Scott, Florida has become the 2nd most polluted state in the union.
In Rick Scott's first year in office, environmental protection fell to a an all-time low. Charlie Crist's Environmental Commissions were eliminated. The agencies charged with protection were slashed or abolished, and employees from those agencies who did their job safeguarding our wetlands were severely punished or fired. Our natural springs, which are critical for our freshwater supply, are dying from algae and slime thanks to slick Rick allowing large batches of wastewater discharge and "combustible fossil fuel" disposal.
However, fracking is one thing we thought we were safe from. Our media told us it wouldn't happen here:
“I think it’s possible, but when you look at the other plays in the U.S. and North America where those resources will be more attractive than Florida,” [UNF Professor Christopher Brown] says. “I believe the panhandle of Florida if any of this were to happen. I think Southwest Florida will be a lot less likely. Not impossible, but a lot less likely."That is one reason why the media blew off Rick Scott, an avid climate change denier, when he said that he not only supports fracking, but supports fracking in our own Everglades!!
Florida currently does not have a law banning fracking in the state. Officials have said in the past that there is no law because the state does not need one.
But don't worry, we were told it could never happen.
Pamela Duran of Naples recently received an odd letter concerning an emergency evacutation plan. She called the number listed, and was told of Hughes Oil planning to drill a well 1000 feet from her home and warned her of a potential "hydrogen sulfide explosion or gas leak". This freaked out Ms. Duran. She teamed up with other concerned citizens, like Karen Dwyer, to fight what we were told was unthinkable:
Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Oil Company recently used a form of “enhanced extraction,” which fits the description of fracking, in Naples, the gateway to the Everglades. The drilling took place in the Sunniland Trend, an underground limestone formation with an oil reserve stretching from Fort Myers to Miami....Now, to be fair, Hughes Oil is arguing that they aren't "fracking" per se. They were just injecting "a dissolving solution at sufficient pressure to achieve some openings in the oil bearing rock formation that would be propped open with sand in pursuit of enhancing oil production".
The drilling is also happening in the endangered Florida panthers’ habitat and the Collier-Hogan well, now shut down, is next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a 5,000-year-old-forest with the last remaining old growth cypress trees in the world.
“Drilling three miles deep through all our fresh water aquifers in the Big Cypress Swamp watershed is not safe,” Karen Dwyer wrote in a letter urging the state to deny the drilling permit next to the Durans’ home.
“If something goes wrong, the watershed that feeds the Picayune Strand State Forest, 10,000 Island National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park could all become contaminated.”
You might say to yourself "that sounds like the very definition of fracking". But Hughes Oil is arguing that fracking uses water mixed with chemicals to cause fractures. They, on the other hand, aren't using water.
So that should make you feel much better.
Hughes Oil was allowed to perform one of these totally non-fracking "acid treatments", which have never been done in Florida before, by our own Department of Environmental Protection (headed by Scott's crony Jeff Littlejohn). Our fiercesome environmental agency asked for some information before they did a second one, but the company essentially said "screw that" and did a second one anyway. Those rapscallions. Oh well, they can be forgiven for thinking officials wouldn't care... because they really don't. They were given a slap on the wrist (25K fine) and then kissed and made up.
Democratic politicians are trying to fight this. Senator Bill Nelson is strongly opposed to Everglades fracking. Florida state senator Dwight Bullard called this the “absolute worst area to begin a drilling project in the history of drilling projects.”
Naturally, Rick Scott thinks its just fine. Florida's oil lobby are big fans of Rick.
The rest of us, not so much.
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