The southwest Florida county of Collier County has taken state regulators to the court over a new oil and gas extraction method known as acid simulation, acid fracking or acidizing. The county officials claim that the regulators didn’t supervise the practice effectively, potentially placing environment and public health at risk.
While acid has always been used for drilling wells in Florida in order to dissolve the limestone bedrock, it is new to Naples, which is on the western part of the Everglades. Last December, Dan A. Hughes pumped acid at high pressure at a well there, something never done before in Florida.
State regulators moved in and requested the company to halt the process until a study was conducted, an order the company refused to heed.
“Within a matter of hours after we realized that the process was going forward, I issued a cease and desist order,” Herschel Vinyard, the secretary of Department of Environmental Protection in Florida said.
Vinyard claimed that the company disregarded the order and finished the operation, forcing Florida to force the Texas-based drilling company to pay a fine of $25,000 and erect groundwater monitoring systems, reported NPR.
However, in Collier County, which has seen residents, environmentalists and local officials up in arms about the new drilling practice, didn’t know of the secret pact between Hughes and the state regulators. Collier County officials claimed that they later came to know about the cease and desist order through the media via a press release.
While oil drilling has been carried out in Florida for 70 years, the bone of contention is the use of new extraction techniques such as fracking and acidizing, which environmentalists and communities fear may contaminate groundwater.
However, Florida’s Department of Environmental Resources erected its own groundwater monitoring system and announced that initial results indicate that there is no visible contamination. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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