Current oil and gas laws allow fracking and fracking-like well stimulation techniques (hydraulic and fracturing, matrix acidizing), which present a risk to our water supplies. Currently, these practices can be done essentially unregulated. Oil companies must only provide the state with notification of the intent to pursue such operations, designating the notices as trade secret to keep the information from being disclosed to the public or local governments.
These techniques are being allowed despite a lack of knowledge regarding the associated risks to Florida’s unique geology and hydrology. It is irresponsible to continue to allow these practices in the absence of Florida-specific science, yet knowing the many problems documented with these practices elsewhere in the United States, as well as at the Collier-Hogan well northwest of Naples.
These techniques also require large quantities of fresh water. In the past, oil companies in Collier County have been permitted to use millions of gallons of water per year from our prime drinking water source for this industrial use. Meanwhile, counties are forced to rely in part on alternative, brackish or salty aquifers to meet its needs. During hydraulic fracturing and other chemical treatments, freshwater is mixed with chemicals and injected into the well. Not all of this water is recovered, but what is recovered is highly toxic and cannot be recycled or reused.
Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) filed Senate Bill 442, on January 24, 2017, an act relating to advanced well stimulation treatments, which effectively bans fracking throughout Florida. The bill bans fracking of all types in Florida, including hydraulic fracking, acid fracking, and matrix acidizing. Senator Young’s bill has bipartisan support. Additionally, House Bill 451 a companion bipartisan bill in the House has also been filed.
For the past three years, the controversy of fracking-like oil drilling practices in Florida have been hotly contested, and rightfully so. These enhanced forms of oil extraction have been linked to surface oil spills, illegal disposal of toxic wastewater and the potential risk of contamination of our drinking water supply.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida believes it is essential to have truly meaningful legislation to protect our water resources from these activities. We are encouraged by these proposed bills in their filed forms and support their adoption by our state legislators.
Today, local governments may address oil and gas activities through the adoption of zoning ordinances prohibiting well stimulation or drilling in incompatible locations. Model ordinances prepared by Conservancy and Earthjustice attorneys can be found in the table below.Citizens can stay up to date on this issue by signing up for Conservancy e-communications. When
Citizens can stay up to date on this issue by signing up for Conservancy e-communications. When action is needed from our supporters, we will send an Action Alert request to you via email.
The Conservancy is currently monitoring the progress of DEP water quality sampling at the Collier-Hogan well where an unauthorized fracking operation occurred over in 2013. We are also engaged in communication with DEP regarding the most recent activity at the Collier-Hogan well in which the operator illegally dumped oil/oily waste into the production well. You can access the DEP’s warning letter sent to the operator HERE. The Conservancy is committed to ensuring that appropriate measures are being taken to ensure the operations at Hogan have not impacted local water quality.
Currently, there is an approved oil exploration project for over 70,000 acres in Big Cypress National Preserve (Preserve), as well as a pending permit application over 100,000 acres in both public and private land just north of the Preserve. The Conservancy is tracking this and other proposals in Southwest Florida and has even begun litigation to ensure that seismic surveys of the Big Cypress do not go forward in light of concerns regarding impact on wetlands, wildlife, and the regulatory process.
There are multiple oil well treatments used in Florida which involve injecting chemicals into a well with the intent of enhancing oil production. Risks can include groundwater contamination & depletion of water supplies.
With only about 100-180 Florida panthers remaining, the Conservancy advocates that development projects avoid impacting any panther habitat, or that officials take steps to minimize any impact.
To promote better water management, the Conservancy works with stakeholders and decision-makers to ensure that stringent water management tools and best practices are in place and utilized.
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
Monday - Sunday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (ET)
239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
©2017 Conservancy of Southwest Florida. All Rights Reserved