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Collier County Commissioners Want Oil Company's Permit Revoked

Collier County Board of Commissioners.
Collier County Board of Commissioners.
Collier County Board of Commissioners.
Credit Ashley Lopez / WGCU
Collier County Board of Commissioners.

Officials in Collier County are asking the state to revoke permits from a Texas-based oil company drilling south of Lake Trafford nearImmokalee. The company recently got in trouble for using unauthorized drilling methods.

In a meeting this week, Collier County Commissioners unanimously voted to demand that state officials impose more oversight and penalties against the Dan A. Hughes Company.

The company is in hot water for using a technique environmentalists say sounds a lot like hydraulic fracturing, which is also known as “fracking,” to extract more oil. The method involved injecting water and chemicals to break up the ground.

State officials told the company to wait for clearance, but the company went ahead with their plans anyway. In response, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requested Dan A. Hughes hire an independent contractor to test the groundwater in the area, but Collier County Commissioners, residents and activists are asking for more.

They want DEP to revoke the company’s permit.

Jennifer Hecker with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said company officials had assured the community in the past that they had no plans to frack in Southwest Florida.

“It really begs the question whether they deserve to continue to do business in Collier County or anywhere in Florida," she said. “So, I think that is why Collier County and organization such as ours are seeking that DEP revoke the permit entirely and not continue to permit additional drilling activities by this company.”

In a statement, the company said it would comply with the order from DEP. Company officials also said the issue at hand was the result of a disagreement over interpretation and that the extraction fluids did not come in contact with groundwater.

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