Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Collier Commissioners Stay the Course, While DEP Condemns Them


Collier County Commissioners decided Tuesday, June 10th, to stay the course and uphold their decision to file a petition against the consent order between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Dan A. Hughes Company.

Dan A. Hughes is the applicant for exploratory drilling in Golden Gate Estates - 1,000 feet from residences and less than one mile from the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. They are also the company involved in using illegal fracking techniques at the Collier-Hogan well, within the Big Cypress Swamp Watershed.

The Collier Commissioners voted in April to challenge the $25,000 settlement between Dan A. Hughes and the DEP regarding the illegal extraction techniques at the Collier-Hogan well. DEP's settlement also called for groundwater testing, but it should be noted that testing has still not been conducted in the six months since the original infraction.
Commissioner Hiller discussing well testing for local residents

Commissioner Coyle said, "We've never had a drilling representative at any of our meetings to answer questions in public... DEP should be here [to discuss] the lax enforcement of the permit." Attempts between the Collier Commissioners and DEP to meet to discuss the administrative challenge disintegrated when DEP refused to meet in a public forum. Commissioner Hiller recommended to "deny the permit because DEP doesn't have the oversight for fracking and hasn't done their duty of protection."

During the public comment period of yesterdays meeting, the DEP issued a press release denouncing the Commissioners' decision to challenge enforcement. Titled, "Commissioners Thwart Enforcement Against Dan A. Hughes Oil," the DEP called the decision "unfortunate" and "urge[d] the Commission to reconsider its decision." Rather than having the desired bullying effect, the Commissioners considered the DEP's statements a direct threat, and rallied again to hold fast to their decision against the DEP and Dan A. Hughes.

Numerous environmental groups attended the hearing, including the Sierra Club, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Stonecrab Alliance, Preserve our Paradise, and others, some coming from as far away as Orlando to show their support for the Commissioners' decision.

The Collier Commissioners listened to concerned citizens and made the right decision. We thank them for staying the course and filing the petition against the consent order. Please send them an e-mail thanking them for representing the voice of Collier County: DonnaFiala@colliergov.net, GeorgiaHiller@colliergov.net , TomHenning@colliergov.net, FredCoyle@colliergov.net, TimNance@colliergov.net

The Collier-Hogan well, where illegal extraction techniques took place in 2013. (c) Karen Dwyer



8 comments:

dwyerj1 said...

The whole community should be feeling great gratitude toward the Collier County Commissioners. Their sometimes dysfunctional interpersonal communications were all overcome, again, on this extremely important issue. The next step after submitting the challenge could be passing a local ordinance prohibiting extreme extraction techniques by the oil industry anywhere else in the county. The permit for the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary well (AKA the Collier-Hogan well) should have never been issued. All the oil in the Sunniland Trend is not worth destroying either the world-famous Sanctuary or the Everglades' water sources all life depends upon. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the entity that should be re-named. Instead of protecting us and our environment, they are protecting the fossil fuel industry and those who stand to profit from it. Our Commissioners certainly had nothing to thwart with regards to FDEP's "enforcement." Nothing. And the FDEP should not be meddling in our local politics.

Anonymous said...

It is very rare that I will stand with any political bunch, but these folks are to be praised for their position concerning the Collier-Hogan project, which has no place in South Fl. if they and their Republican friends want to drill let them stay far above the Okeechobee-Kissimmee watershed. Stand tall commissioners, finally ecology friendly politicians are being heard, stand tall.

Anonymous said...

Collier County commissioners rock ! Hopefully in November we will have a Governor that actually cares about the environment and will give the Florida EPA support so they can do a better job at protecting Florida

Anonymous said...

DEP STANDS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIORNMENTAL PROSTITUION

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the work you do and for standing strong to protect the beautiful natural land and endangered Florida panthers. Florida's nature given treasure is a diverse flora and fauna ecosystem-- if only the hyper-developers would let it be.

Anonymous said...

IT IS PAST TIME FOR THOSE OF US WHO REALIZE THE DAMAGE THAT COULD HAPPEN... WE NEED TO TAKE A STAND AND STOP THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION ...... COLLIER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE "AWESOME"!!! KEEP GETTING THE WORD OUT TO EVERYONE SO WE CAN PREVENT THIS TRAVESTY OF THOSE WHO ARE ONLY ABOUT THEIR OWN MOTIVES AND GREED HAS A HUGE PART IN THIS ALSO.....IT IS TIME TO STAND UP & STAY STRONG AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY OUR HERITAGE TO FUTURE GENERATIONS...ONCE GONE..IT IS GONE!!!

Anonymous said...

As someone of the youth, I thank you for bettering my future and the future of Florida's precious ecosystems.

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