FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 20, 2013
CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.
DEP APPROVES PERMITS FOR DAN A. HUGHES COMPANY, L.P. PROJECT IN COLLIER COUNTY NEAR GOLDEN GATE ESTATES
~Department of Environmental Protection issues statement regarding today's action~"Today, after thorough and thoughtful evaluation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved two permits for the Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P., for the project in Collier County near Golden Gate Estates."The applicant has demonstrated that it will adhere to the Department’s strict regulatory requirements which ensure public safety and protection of our natural resources."One of the permits is for an exploratory well. If the exploratory well proves successful, the company must apply for and obtain a 5-year operating permit.The other permit is for a disposal well for brine that may be produced along with crude oil if the primary well goes into production. Saltwater is often produced as a by-product of oil/gas production and must be disposed of on a continuous basis for the life of the well."DEP experts have spent months reviewing these permit applications to ensure compliance with Florida’s stringent standards and the law, which are protective of the environment and human health and safety. They also carefully assessed and considered the concerns expressed in more than 600 public comments submitted to the Department. This is in addition to the questions and feedback the Department received when it hosted a public meeting Sept. 10 to inform the community about its permitting process and answer questions regarding its assessment of the applications from the Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P."The permits restrict the permittee to drilling and well testing on a 2.8-acre pad on agricultural land. The permits do not authorize new land disturbance, wetland impacts, hydraulic fracturing or oil/gas production."The permit also requires inspection programs to assure compliance with rules designed to prevent accidents. Oil and Gas inspection staff will be on the drill rig to witness key operations, including active drilling, geophysical well logging, casing and cementing procedures, and required well and equipment testing operations. Inspection staff will also conduct additional scheduled and random well inspections to assure protection of surrounding property and natural resources."The applications and the permits are available to the public for review on the Department’s web site at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/
water/mines/oil_gas/drill- apps.htm.Any person whose substantial interests are affected by the Department’s action may petition (within 21 days) for an administrative proceeding (hearing) under sections 120.569 and 120.57, F.S.Additional BackgroundWhen a permit application is received, the Department engages in peer review on top of assessing a permit based on stringent environmental standards through Florida statutes and rules.As part of the initial 30 day application review process, the Department sent copies of the applications for the Dan A. Hughes Company, L.P. project in Collier County near Golden Gate to potentially interested agencies and organizations for review and comment. These parties included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (UIC Program), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Florida Departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Consumer Services, and State (Historical Resources), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands and Environmental Resource Permitting Program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Collier County, and the Florida Audubon Society.Over 1,000 permitted wells have been drilled in Florida since 1943. Approximately 230 permitted wells have been drilled in Collier County and 510 have been drilled in South Florida. During this timeframe, the petroleum industry has safely produced 611 million barrels of crude oil and 689 billion cubic feet of natural gas in Collier, Hendry, Lee, Dade, Escambia, and Santa Rosa Counties. There have been no blowouts in Florida's history. Compliance rates with permit provisions and Florida’s rules and statutes for the industry is very high, around 98 percent.
About the Florida Department of Environmental ProtectionThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The Department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally-sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. To view the Department’s website log on to www.dep.state.fl.us.