While some are just talking about whether or not fracking in Florida is a good idea (it's not), and legislators debate the issue, apparently an oil company from Texas has just gone ahead and done it here anyway, regardless of what anyone wants, and quite possibly, illegally. Can we count on our governor and lawmakers to hold them accountable?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Friday afternoon revealed that it had fined the Dan A. Hughes Co. $25,000 for violating its permit. The violation involves using a process that sounds like fracking — although the word "fracking" appears nowhere in either Friday's DEP news release or the legal paperwork about the fine from 10 days earlier.
Instead, the 12-page consent order, dated April 8, says DEP officials became concerned about a "workover operation" that the Texas company launched without DEP permission in late December 2013. The well site is on an island surrounded by the National Audubon Society's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a major nesting site for wood storks. DEP officials told Hughes to stop right away.
Determining exactly what the company did is difficult because the DEP censored that part of the order, labeling it "a confidential trade secret."
However, the DEP news release says Hughes "proposed an enhanced extraction procedure that had not previously been used in Florida. The company proposed to inject 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."
As the Times article states, this is pretty much the definition of hydraulic fracturing, whether those documents use the term or not. Still, the DEP merely fined them, and apparently have moved along: