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Everglades oil drilling

jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
The opening of previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania is almost daily news. The environmental, climate, and local impacts of this domestic fossil fuel renaissance are also frequently reported, if not necessarily acted upon. Now Florida may be the next subject of this state of boom. Florida is ecologically more unique and more at risk than many other fossil fuel-rich locales, and a recent spate of industry and political attention has brought the Everglades, a tropical wetlands and World Heritage Site, to the center of the stories’ attention.

At least a half dozen oil companies have spent upwards of $10 million on plans to expand operations across Southwest Florida in the last few years, according to reporting from the Miami Herald last year. With oil prices remaining high, previously uneconomic reserves in places like Big Cypress National Preserve, the first national preserve in the U.S. National Park System, are retaining new interest. Big Cypress National Preserve borders the Everglades to the northwest.

“We feel like this is going to open up the floodgates to Everglades drilling, this particular drill site,” Karen Dwyer of Naples, who’s protested drilling plans in the state, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We want to stop the problem before it starts.”

Florida residents are not the only ones voicing concern. Earlier this week state Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, sent a letter to Florida Department of Environmental Regulation Secretary Herschel Vinyard cautioning against any further oil exploration or fracking in the Everglades without further review of the risks.

Vinyard responded in somewhat scathing fashion, saying “there has been no energy exploration in the Everglades,” and that “the Department’s sole focus is on protecting the environment … the Administration’s commitment to the Everglades is unrivaled and we are anxious to continue this pace-setting work to improve our Everglades.”

The letter states that there are 162 oil and gas wells operating in six counties in Florida, and that there has never been a single permit issued for any oil and gas exploration in the Everglades.

In an analysis of the bureaucratic back-and-forth, Mary Ellen Klas at the Tampa Bay Times writes that “Soto may have been trapped in a bit of semantics:”

“The permits appear to be issued on the edge of the Everglades not within the actual Everglades National Park as we know it … Vinyard may be technically right but his letter did not explain why there are investors hoping to search for oil on the western edge of the Everglades in Naples and in the Big Cypress National Preserve.”

Klas points out that the crossfire between Soto and Vinyard fails to address what would seem an ominous indicator — two state bills proposed by state Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, HB 71 and HB 157, that would “set state guidelines for reporting on the chemicals used in oil and gas hydraulic fracturing and offer companies a public records exemption for trade secrets.”

The bills are opposed by environmental groups and have been speculated as being modeled on legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a national right-wing organization known recently for its state-level war on renewable energy.

Florida has provided less than one percent of the county’s oil production recently, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In 2011, renewable energy accounted for 2.2 percent of the state’s total net electricity generation, making it third in the country for net solar electricity generation. However, the Sunshine State’s sunshine is not of concern to companies based in nearby states like Texas and Mississippi that are on a quest to find out how much crude oil lies beneath the surface — and then how much of it they can extract. These companies have obtained leases for seismic testing along a large area of the southern Florida peninsula, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

In 2011, Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott acknowledged that a small amount of drilling has been going on in the Everglades for a while, and that a large amount could be possible in the future.

“We already have oil wells in the Everglades, there’s a road in Naples that’s called ‘Oil Well Road,” Scott said. “It’s my understanding at least, we haven’t had any problems in the Everglades to date,” Scott said.

According to an October analysis by Politifact, Gov. Scott broke his 2010 campaign promise to explore expansion of drilling in a safe, environmentally sound way. While the statement was focused primarily on offshore drilling after the devastating impacts of the nearby Deepwater Horizon explosion, not much has been done to ensure safety measures inland either.

Last year, Gov. Scott did sign into law HB 999, a bill detested by a number of environmental groups that, among other things, speeds up the permitting for natural gas pipelines originating in other states.


  • coldaircoldair Posts: 11,490 AG
    its time to drill our way to energy independence
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
  • Racoon fields in Big Cypress have been pumping crude thru a pipeline along I75 to Port Everglades for over 40 years!

    How many spills have you read about? (Oh they have happened, but minor at best)
  • An extremely important non-issue in the forthcoming election.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    Racoon fields in Big Cypress have been pumping crude thru a pipeline along I75 to Port Everglades for over 40 years!

    How many spills have you read about? (Oh they have happened, but minor at best)

    We don't need any more wells in the glades/s fla.

    Yes, they have been doing it for many decades. Raccoon fields in the only site, as you well know.

    And yes, the pipeline has leaked in the past and there have been small spills.
  • Mister-JrMister-Jr Posts: 30,019 AG
    An extremely important non-issue in the forthcoming election.

    I don't particularly like the idea, but is it an issue? I don't know the hazards involved and I know there has been some drilling in the Glades for a long time.
    Vote for the other candidate
  • Charlie's campaign will certainly focus on Rick's DEP and exploit it's leadership, decision making and allege its complacency to business at the expense of environmental resources. This particular issue is one of those bogeymen.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Posts: 4,222 Captain
    big oil has been trying for years to allow drilling within the mississippi sound...
    other than one very small area on the alabama-ms border is there any active drilling in ms...
    a grass roots, but well funded group named "the 12 mile south coalition" has managed to keep the gub'ner and his lap dog, the ms development authority from screwing the pooch....

    mississippi depends on tourism for most of its buget and the 3 coast counties are the rain makers...
    however, most of the state legislaters with the most power are upstate republicans from the poorest counties that don't get it...
    kill the golden goose is their motto....

    if you want to see how drill rigs wreck a tourist destination, just visit dauphin island, alabama....
    The Real White Dog

    if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
    #12976, joined 8-17-2002
  • PopeyePopeye Posts: 14,291 AG
    I say drill the waste lands
  • Joey ButtonsJoey Buttons Posts: 11,848 AG
    Charlie's campaign will certainly focus on Rick's DEP and exploit it's leadership, decision making and allege its complacency to business at the expense of environmental resources. This particular issue is one of those bogeymen.

    We need to vote Charlie back in.

    This state might finally open their eyes in Nov.
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    Paradise Under Attack from Drillers in Southwest Florida
    Posted on July 24, 2013

    — submitted by Mary Loritz
    July 24, 2013

    swampIn southwest Florida, residents of the Golden Gate neighborhood are protesting plans to drill as close as 1,000 feet from their homes.

    In 2013, as oil prices rise, drillers are increasingly looking to American’s backyards. Drilling and fracking are sweeping across the country with increasing speed in a frenzy that has left residential and farming communities speckled with heavy industry, and is threatening the water supply of millions.

    Southwest Florida is not known for its oil; it’s better known for beaches and the Everglades. But there has been active oil extraction in the region since 1943, when the Collier family had its first well drilled in what’s known as the Sunniland field, which stretches across South Florida. A few wells already dot the edges of the Everglades.

    The Sunniland is no Iraq, however. The oil wells drilled in southern Florida were never particularly prolific, so there was little interest in the fields until recently. But with oil prices up, and more efficient “enhanced oil recovery techniques” like fracking coming into vogue, companies are taking second and third looks at lower yielding prospects. It no accident that the Florida legislature has recently passed special tax breaks to oil companies — as little as 1% oil severance tax may now be charged to companies that drill in these formerly tapped-out fields. Even with tripled yields, though, whatever oil is extracted from southwest Florida would hardly make a cent of difference in global oil prices. Since 1943, only about 120 million barrels have been extracted from the Sunniland field. Last year, all production from South Florida only accounted for one ten-thousandth of U.S. fossil fuel consumption.”
    An Immediate Threat

    Despite the miniscule public benefit, an exploratory oil drilling operation has been proposed by Collier Resources in Collier County, squeezed tightly between a suburban Naples residential community and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The drilling poses an immediate threat to the local community, with the nearest homes being only 1,000 feet from the drill site.

    Tom Jones, a vice president of Collier Resources Inc., told Oil and Gas Investor that high oil prices were driving the further exploration of southwest Florida resources. (He didn’t mention the tax breaks.) Collier resources owns 800,000 acres of mineral rights in south Florida, in an arrangement known as “split-estate” — even when surface land is bought, whatever is underneath remains property of the mineral-rights owners, in this case granting Collier Resources broad rights to drill underneath many people’s homes, as well as to invade what’s otherwise known as the Everglades. In other words, “that’s my milkshake.”

    Though oil company profits are at all-time highs, the oil easiest to extract and refine has already been tapped, leaving us with the dregs and with higher oil prices as companies must invest more in production. However even though the easy oil has dried up, the total amount of oil consumed to this point in human history only amounts to one-fifth of global resources, as reported in a recent New York Times column. Yet the consumption of even another fifth would surely leave us with a planet so scorched it would be inhospitable to human habitation — if we have not already passed this point.

    pantherAbout 50 homes lie within a mile of the proposed drilling site in the Rural Estates neighborhood of Naples. The nearest residents are Pam and Jaime Duran; if the oil companies have their way, the field next to their house will soon host a towering 14-story drilling rig. Dozens of construction, oil, and chemical trucks will roar past their home every day at all hours. The noise from these trucks, construction, and drilling, will keep them and their neighbors up at night in open violation of the law.

    Over 100 local residents appeared at May and June hearings of the Collier County Board of Commissioners, and as Pam Duran testified, “We are not asking you to stop the permit for the oil well. The state will decide that. We are asking you, the commissioners for reassurance that the noise ordinance will be enforced.” Noise from oil drilling operations runs 24 hours per day and has been found to reach levels over 55 decibels at distances of 3,500 feet. (The maximum recommended background decibel level for waking hours is 45 decibels, and 35 for sleeping.)
    Water Is for People

    frackAreaThe conflict between oil and water resources is intensifying as the quest for black gold threatens to poison local communities. Since the residents of Rural Estates have no municipal water; they are all being expected to share their own aquifer with an oil well. Their real estate prices would likely fall drastically, and they may not be able to sell their home at all as has been the case in other communities across the country where oil and gas drilling are present.

    Oil and gas drilling carries a high risk of groundwater and aquifer contamination. The 2010 movie Gasland documents how drilling has polluted water supplies around the country with carcinogens, including benzene, methane and hydrogen sulfide, with tap water even catching fire from methane. The risk of groundwater contamination is particularly present in the swamps of southwest Florida, where water is close to the surface.

    As local resident Marianne Dwyer testified to the Commission, “In the last three years contaminated waste water has found its way to the surface in CA, OK and LA. Here in Florida 20 disposal wells failed in the 1990s releasing partly treated sewage into the aquifers.”
    Hydrogen sulfide can kill you

    One of the greatest threats is the possibility of a leak of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic airborne chemical known to seep out of landfills, oil and gas refineries, and oil and gas extraction sites. Even chronic low levels of hydrogen sulfide are associated with neurological impairments such as confusion, memory impairment, migraines, fatigue and depression. It often goes undetected because hydrogen sulfide quickly impairs the sense of smell. And a high concentration such as could occur from a well blowout can be fatal.

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection — which has never failed to approve a drilling permit — says residents should not worry, even though the permit application’s instructions to drilling staff repeatedly caution drilling workers about conditions of “extreme danger,” warning them with “DON’T PANIC” instructions and providing them with gas masks. Yet the drilling company did not even spend a postage stamp warning the nearest neighbors of the threat, and the application’s “Emergency Evacuation Plan” failed to note a dead end street that would prohibit evacuation of hundreds of residents in the event of a hydrogen sulfide “event.”
    Fracking could be next

    Residents of the neighborhood are also concerned that the proposed exploratory drilling could morph into fracking. In fact, despite fracking’s “bad name,” even back in 2011, industry leaders hinted that fracking in southwest Florida was a strong possibility, if not inevitable.

    After quick criticism from environmental advocates, industry and political leaders have become much more ambivalent about fracking, at least on the record, presumably to stave off too much preemptive opposition. Representatives of the industry are now alleging that it is unnecessary to frack south Florida fields, as the earth there is already porous. But if the ground of southwest Florida is already porous, then the risk of aquifer and groundwater contamination from drilling is already higher than normal in the event of any drilling at all.

    Collier Resources denies any fracking plans in the area. Yet their permit reveals several chemicals that are involved only in fracking and are not required for drilling. Whether or not hydraulic fracturing is used in accordance with its textbook definition, there is a range of other so-called “enhanced oil recovery” techniques, which can cause enormous water resource problems or involve dangerous chemicals. For example, in California Occidental Oil Company has recently boasted of “stimulating” 80% of its Monterey field with hydrochloric acid in massive quantities. In Pennsylvania last year, there was a single spill of 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid.
    State Senator Dwight Bullard and Aron McKinney.

    State Senator Dwight Bullard and Aron McKinney.

    The drilling process has been slowed after the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) received over 700 public comments in response to the proposed oil drilling in Golden Gate. They have now requested additional information from Hughes. It is unclear whether this means they’ll conduct a rigorous review, or are merely hoping that opposition will just die out. But local citizens groups, including preserve our paradise are anticipating the worst, since the FDEP has never denied a drilling permit. If Citizens Administrative options fail, some might look to recourse in the courts.
    Join the Resistance

    No, opposition will not “just die out.” Residents are calling for public support to stop the real nightmares of Gasland from becoming a reality in southwest Florida. They ask that you visit or visit Preserve Our Paradise on Facebook to find out how you can become involved in stopping the destruction of our Florida nature preserves and neighborhoods.
  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    to bad some of the people who post here don't have to really live with what decisions or bs that money hungry fools bring about.. no matter if things are going south in our environment or taking everything they can as fast as they can and leaving a waste land in the long run where birds and fish cannot live.. Ron will build / dredge whatever he wants at whatever cost and Gary will make light of the situation and belittle people to make a backside of a donkey out of himself. same stuff different day while things are definitely 'fubar' as they can be.
  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    watch now as they set their sites on me for speaking up for whats right... the lake, neighborhoods, and water will be the cost all of us have to deal with when things are screwed up.
    you can click on garys name and see the chaos he spouts on every situation or post here like a troll from hell.. it's like he is a terrorist with an agenda..
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    I wonder how much has been spilled as of today?

    Oil Spills Endanger Delicate Everglades 81 Cases Reported Since Early `70s
    March 6, 1990|By ROBERT McCLURE, Staff Writer

    The massive oil tanker, driven by a man with a suspended license, creeps down a 10-foot-wide dirt road past tangles of cypress and sawgrass. It strays a bit too far to the right. The road buckles. The tanker topples onto a cypress knee. And oil gushes into one of South Florida`s most sensitive natural areas.

    Similar scenes have been played out dozens of times. The details vary: a driver dozes off; lightning knocks out an electric pump; a careless farmer rams a pipeline; faulty equipment sends oil spewing skyward.

    But in each case, human error, mechanical failure or plain bad luck meant oil spilled.

    Most South Floridians do not know there is any oil drilling in their region. But Southwest Florida is dotted with wells, and most of the crude is trucked or pumped to Fort Lauderdale for shipment to refineries.

    And state records document a history of 81 spills dating to the early 1970s.

    ``They have frequent spills,`` said Gregory Hogue, an environmental specialist at the Big Cypress National Preserve, where two fields are active. ``Unfortunately, it`s the nature of the beast.``

    Officials say most spills have been cleaned up promptly and, for the most part, well. And even though South Florida has never seen a spill as large as those in Alaska and California, some environmental damage has been done.

    For instance, a three-acre stand of cypress trees at Big Cypress Preserve is dead today, seven years after a spill, Hogue said.

    State officials will soon decide under what circumstances -- if at all -- to allow oil exploration or drilling in the Everglades Water Conservation Areas of western Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties.

    The proposal has drawn vociferous protest from conservationists, who think that spills are an inevitable consequence of drilling and transporting oil.

    ``It`s a very dirty industry. The Everglades is a very fragile, sensitive environment,`` said Ross Crow of the Florida Public Interest Research Group, speaking at a public hearing on the issue in January.

    Exxon, the region`s major driller, is keenly interested in the decision. So is Shell Oil, along with a wealthy family that gave Collier County its name, a Fort Lauderdale pipeline company and a bunch of politicians and government officials.

    Oil has been produced for decades in and around what became the Big Cypress National Preserve in 1974. The state calls this region, between Naples and Lake Okeechobee, an ``area of critical concern,`` important to the preservation of the Florida panther and other endangered animals and plants.

    So far, the industry`s environmental record, including eight spills inside the Big Cypress Preserve and 73 elsewhere, has escaped close review.

    ``That`s a lot more than I thought,`` said Estus Whitfield, lead environmental adviser to Gov. Bob Martinez. ``I remember two or three instances. ... The other 75 or 80 were never brought to anyone`s attention.``

    Gary Tannahill, a New Orleans-based spokesman for Exxon, said his company tries hard to prevent spills and stresses safety.

    ``We don`t feel like we have a problem,`` Tannahill said. ``We operate a very tight ship. That doesn`t mean we don`t have some drips from time to time, but we certainly try to keep them from happening.``

    State Department of Natural Resources records reveal:

    -- Almost 163,000 gallons of crude oil and 120,000 gallons of plant-killing saltwater, a by-product of oil pumping, have been spilled in South Florida since records first were kept in 1972. Spills of less than 210 gallons do not have to be reported, though some are.

    -- Half the spills were attributed to corrosion or punctures in the oil companies` network of pipelines. Industry officials say pipelines are safer than transporting oil by tanker truck. But in 1986, a state official warned that ``the chronic occurrence of spills ... would indicate that there are likely many more pipelines which need to be inspected.``

    -- In most cases, clean-up efforts begin soon after spills are discovered, but sometimes it is impossible to recover all the spilled oil. Oil from old spills sometimes wells up years later to cast a rainbow-like sheen on standing water.

    -- Seventy-eight of the 81 spills were accidents, the others caused by vandals. Most were preventable.

    ``The reason you have these spills and leaking is neglect,`` Hogue said.

    Only 12 of the 81 spills occurred in the drilling process itself. The rest happened while oil was being transported, either from a well to storage tanks, from storage tanks into trucks, in trucks or in a pipeline.

    In some cases, the accidents resulted from the tornadoes or lightning common in South Florida`s wild summer weather.

    In at least three cases, truck drivers dozed off while loading tankers or transporting a load of crude. In November, one driver left without unhooking his tanker from a storage tank, spilling 6,700 gallons of oil.

    Other mishaps are caused by construction crews, farmers or others unaffiliated with the oil industry.

    Sometimes equipment breaks down. A series of human and mechanical failures resulted in the only spill that attracted widespread media attention, a 5,690- gallon pipeline mishap in the Everglades Water Conservation Area in 1986. A total of 33 leaks were discovered in a nearby section of pipeline.

    Records reveal evidence of many old spills, some repeated. At one spot in Collier County, inspectors discovered that so much oil had spilled over the years that the sand had ``hardened to become asphalt-like.``

    Even a small leak in a pipeline can contaminate lots of land. In 1983, a quarter-inch hole poked in a pipeline by a farmer`s bulldozer covered a quarter-acre with oil.

    And sometimes, spills are not discovered for years. In 1985, a contractor digging a canal in Hendry County unearthed a spill thought to have occurred 11 years earlier.

    In some cases, it is impossible to say how much oil got loose. A November 1982 spill in Hendry County, blamed on a faulty piece of equipment, sent what inspectors called a ``quite spectacular`` spurt of oil into the air. A 1 1/4- acre parcel was sprayed with an unknown quantity of oil.

    Much of the crude oil pumped in Southwest Florida over the years has been piped to Fort Lauderdale`s Port Everglades for distribution to refineries.

    Sunniland Pipeline Co. of Fort Lauderdale runs the pipeline, ferrying Exxon`s oil across the Everglades. Parts of the pipeline pass near Broward County drinking water wells, records state.

    Sunniland and the oil companies stand to profit if oil drilling is allowed in the Everglades, said L.B. Brashier, president of Sunniland. A spokesman for the Collier family businesses said the firms have an ``academic interest`` because they own mineral rights in much of Collier County.

    Oil pumped farther west in and around the Big Cypress Preserve is sold by Exxon to Sunniland, an Exxon spokesman said. Sunniland pumps the crude to Port Everglades, where it is sold back to Exxon at a profit, he said. From there it is shipped to Houston, New Orleans or East Coast refineries.

    Exxon has long maintained that it bears no responsibility for spills that occur while the oil is in Sunniland`s pipeline, said Langley Adair, a Department of Environmental Regulation official.

    Adair sought unsuccessfully to fine Sunniland $15,000 for a series of spills between November 1983 and February 1985. DER chose not to pursue the cases.

    Three of those spills involved truck drivers who went to sleep, including one with several prior driving convictions and a previous license suspension. Another involved a driver inexperienced at hauling oil; his truck overturned at the edge of a temporary road in Big Cypress Preserve. His license had been suspended two weeks earlier, records show.

    In 1986, Adair described safety precautions as ``not adequate.``

    ``The spills could have been prevented, either by management or by the persons that caused the spill,`` he wrote.

    Brashier disagrees.

    ``I think that`s one person`s opinion,`` he said.

    But the federal Office of Pipeline Safety also has raised questions about Sunniland. In 1986, the agency said Sunniland ``committed probable violations`` of rules on recordkeeping, inspection schedules and public education. Results of a follow-up inspection are not yet available.

    Brashier said he considers all the spill incidents he knows about to be minor, without lasting environmental impact. He said Sunniland has tightened safety regulations over the years in an effort to avoid spills.

    In responding to Adair and other environmental officials, Brashier has portrayed the company as blameless.

    ``We don`t feel we should be penalized for occurrences beyond our control,`` he wrote in 1985.

    A construction firm working for Sunniland paid $5,832 to settle charges that its workers buried oil-contaminated debris in a cow pasture. DER officials called it a ``blatant and willful`` violation of environmental rules.

    Brashier portrayed Sunniland as a ``victim`` in the incident.

    In a recent interview, Brashier said he does not think South Floridians should be concerned about oil drilling.

    ``All of the companies involved have been very responsible, cleaned up very well, and I would say I doubt very seriously if anyone could find any effect of any one of those spills,`` he said, ``not any lasting effect.``


    Details of a few of the 81 South Florida oil spills recorded by the Florida Department of Natural Resources since recordkeeping began in 1972. The companies involved said most spills were cleaned up quickly:

    -- JANUARY 1972: Pipeline hit by vehicle, breaks at connection. 16,000 gallons spill.

    -- AUGUST 1973: Line break gushes 4,400 gallons into pasture land. Cleanup postponed until dry season because equipment would bog down in soft ground. Six days later, another 2,100 gallons spill.

    -- SEPTEMBER 1975: 410 gallons spill from pinhole leak. Leak is repaired, but another 2,000 gallons spill when pump is restarted.

    - SEPTEMBER 1977: Two Sunniland Pipe Line Co. spills in Hendry County. One involved rain flushing out year-old spill that ``obviously ... was not adequately cleaned up,`` state official writes. State official said other spill occurred in line that Sunniland had said was out of service.

    -- APRIL 1983: Malfunctioning pump sprays more than 1 1/2 acres with oil. ``Quite spectacular,`` official notes.

    -- NOVEMBER 1983: Tanker carrying 6,700 gallons overturns in Big Cypress National Preserve. Cypress knee punctures tanker, spilling about 2,500 gallons. Driver had suspended license, no experience hauling oil.

    -- MAY 1984: Driver dozes off while loading tanker in Lee County. Nearly 1,500 gallons spill.

    -- JUNE 1984: Truck driver falls asleep at wheel, overturns in Big Cypress National Preserve. About 42 gallons spill. Driver had several prior driving convictions and one suspension, but his license was valid.

    -- DECEMBER 1984: Tanker driver falls asleep while loading oil in Big Cypress National Preserve. About 1,300 gallons spill.

    -- AUGUST 1986: Chain of mechanical failures cause most-publicized spill in South Florida history. Pressure relief valve on Sunniland pipeline fails in west Broward County. 630 gallons escape. More than 30 leaks discovered in nearby lines. Total spill: 5,700 gallons.

    -- MARCH 1989: Sunniland Pipeline spills 21,000 gallons, which soaks 4 feet into dry, sandy soil.

    -- NOVEMBER 1989: Driver forgets to disconnect loading hose after filling tanker in Collier County. Drives off, spilling 6,720 gallons.
  • Joey ButtonsJoey Buttons Posts: 11,848 AG
    1989 was the last big spill?
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    1989 was the last big spill?

    the article was from 1990
  • fishonfishon Posts: 984 Officer
    Make the CEO's of each oil company responsible to drilling! Make their first born accountable to any oil spill, by public hanging if their company has an oil spill. If they wish to gamble with Floridas future, make them pay with the future of there own families! How confident are these CEO's of these oil companies. Sometimes it takes creative thought to control big business!
    Triton 1870 Bay Sport, 115 merc. 4/stroke,
    Fish Shallow saltwater, lakes central Fl. And Lake Oconee Ga.
    Live in Lakeland
  • Day TripperDay Tripper Posts: 508 Officer
    We need to vote Charlie back in.

    This state might finally open their eyes in Nov.

  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    truth is you and i will never see the revenues or a decent price on fuel because of greed and power.. we will see the extra tax $ to subsidize it, we will see the damage it causes when greedy people cut corners and we will see shady practices to get the desired fix of **** what we have as fast as we can without changing the ways we live.
  • hatcityhatcity Posts: 3,446 Captain
    Just think of all the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ this will bring in
    That is going to be the selling point.
    Either in the political arena or the true economy arena
    I was not born stupid, just had lots of practice
  • NACl H2O LuvrNACl H2O Luvr Posts: 12,390 AG
    When you guys go fill up your fuel tanks for your boats, or cars or must believe the fuel got there by 'MAGIC'.
  • Mango ManMango Man Posts: 13,570 AG
    When you guys go fill up your fuel tanks for your boats, or cars or must believe the fuel got there by 'MAGIC'.


    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    Abraham Lincoln
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    When you guys go fill up your fuel tanks for your boats, or cars or must believe the fuel got there by 'MAGIC'.

    oh, so this will lower the cost of gas? Feeding the hemi ain't cheap!

    I guess fracking would be good for the glades. it's all good until the crude flows through the glades
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Posts: 4,222 Captain
    jad1097 wrote: »
    oh, so this will lower the cost of gas? Feeding the hemi ain't cheap!

    I guess fracking would be good for the glades. it's all good until the crude flows through the glades

    i'm afraid your sarcasm was lost by all of the ignorant "drill, baby,drill" twits...
    check in with the bid'ness folks from pensacola to the mississippi coast and asked them what the blowout cost them...

    the usa is already exporting oil and gasoline...

    that is all....
    The Real White Dog

    if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
    #12976, joined 8-17-2002
  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    nac h2..., I don't make excesses for what fuel I use, I do know though that what the oil or gas people say and do are totally different than the reality. I would bet though that most who read this or go "drill baby drill" don't much care about the real footprint that they have on this earth.. tell me again how many years has it taken since the first automobiles came out till this day? how much do we use?
  • NACl H2O LuvrNACl H2O Luvr Posts: 12,390 AG
    nac h2..., I don't make excesses for what fuel I use, I do know though that what the oil or gas people say and do are totally different than the reality. I would bet though that most who read this or go "drill baby drill" don't much care about the real footprint that they have on this earth.. tell me again how many years has it taken since the first automobiles came out till this day? how much do we use?

    Simmer down Testerman.

    This wasn't an attack directed at anyone. The op is a highly opinionated piece put out by think progress, which if they had their way, would have all of us living in caves, wearing loin cloths (made from hemp), and eating disgusting parasite filled vegetables grown in our own human feces filled compost heaps.

    The fact of the matter is, the USA, and other western civilizations have the cleanest water, air, and generally, best standard of living.

    My point was, try to look at things objectively, and don't let extremists on either side of the aisle form your opinion for you.
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    is there anything untrue in the think progress article?

    I'm sure you will love this one

    The letter was printed on plain white paper in plain black type, and but for its unfamiliar globe logo "Total Safety" and its unsettling message, it was no different from most of the junk mail filling the mailboxes of 30 homes in a rural south Florida area called Golden Gate Estates, east of Naples.

    "Dear Sir or Madam," it read, "Total Safety US, Inc. is currently going around your area gathering information on households for Dan A. Hughes, so we can develop a contingency plan. We need the name of the main contact of the household, the number of people in your household, address and a number where you could be contacted in case of emergency, if you have transportation to evacuate and if you have any special needs in transportation."

    This message from "the world's leading provider" of safety service solutions to the petrochemical industry went on to instruct recipients to contact a Jennifer Jones with any questions about the still unspecified project coming to their neighborhood. Each household had its own reference number.

    With a little research, one of the many perplexed recipients, a retired artist by the name of Jaime Duran, learned that Dan A. Hughes was a Beeville, Texas-based oil outfit and that the company planned on drilling a test well on the pasture alongside his log cabin, less than 1,000 feet from his front porch.

    "We could hear the cows in the next field when we moved here," says Duran. He and his wife, Pamela, bought the lot at the end of an unpaved, one-lane road because they wanted a quiet place where they could grow fruits and vegetables in their golden years, far from the traffic and pollution of more populated areas. They liked the croaking of cicadas around sunset, the humid shadow of mosquitos during summertime, even the bear that ransacked their garden. And they had no reason to think that it would change. The neighboring lot was zoned agriculture and, he says, "This road was a dead end."

    But for companies like Dan A. Hughes, undeveloped plots of south Florida are anything but dead ends - they are new beginnings for the region's long languishing petrochemical industry. As the price of oil climbs, American prospectors are increasingly looking for untapped regions, even in areas like Florida which, traditionally, aren't big fonts of fossil fuels the way Pennsylvania or Kansas might be.

    The state has had some small-scale petroleum production since 1943, when Humble Oil & Refining Co. struck oil south of Immokalee - the nation's top tomato-producing region. There are now 162 wells operating in the state. In the south, they are in Collier, Henry, Lee and Dade counties. (There is also some production in the Panhandle's Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, near Pensacola.) Refining peaked at 45 million barrels in 1978, amid the gas crisis, but has since spiraled to less than 2 million barrels annually.

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    A new pack of wildcatters, however, is convinced that the next big crude discovery is just around the corner - in the Sunshine State - and is actively seeking land leases and permits.

    Of course, south Florida's landscape is more than a little different from Louisiana's Cancer Alley or Texas's derrick-littered landscape. Much of the wildcatting could take place on the known habitat of the endangered Florida panther, of which there are estimated to be about a hundred extant. The area -- comprised of the watershed that replenishes levels in the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Everglades -- is also integral to the area's hydrological health. It fills the aquifers millions of south Florida residents rely on for drinking water.

    The looming conflict over south Florida's oil potential also underscores several mining controversies in Florida and across the U.S. - the often uneasy relationship between mineral rights owners, homeowners and preservationists - and local politicians' efforts to protect constituents above business interests.


    Barron Collier was a Southerner through and through, hailing from a prominent Tennessee family that even claimed relation to Virginia Dare, "the first white woman born to English parents in North America," according to Paradise for Sale: Florida's Booms and Busts by Nick Wynne and Richard Moorhead. His entry into the business world belied this lofty pedigree. Collier got his start as a low-level railroad hand - a sales solicitor, in fact, but invested in a printing company, which produced advertising placards for subways and streetcars. A few years and a few shrewd business moves later, Collier had amassed a "virtual monopoly on this form of advertising," making him "a millionaire many times over" by the age of 26.
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    At one point during negotiations with a Chicago railroad, Collier agreed to buy an island off the coast of Florida from the company's president, spurring what would become a fascination with the state's wild lands. The Everglades, in particular, "captured Barron Collier's soul." From 1921 to 1923, Barron Collier bought 1.5 million acres in southern Lee County, to make livable the swamps and cypress stands. He would later get a county named after him, Collier County, in exchange for funding an interstate linking Tampa and Miami.

    Collier's purchases and developments were so extensive that one historian remarked in 1926 that he would be "the first man to make a billion dollars from land" - with the potential to exceed even the Astors' profits from New York City real estate. Despite a lack of evidence - and the fact that prospectors had tried unsuccessfully to find oil in Florida since 1901 - Collier was convinced that the earth under the state bubbled with black gold, telling his son shortly before his death: "I can smell it."

    Four years later, Collier's nose was vindicated when Humble Oil and Refining Company (since absorbed by Exxon) struck oil on the Sunniland trend, which spans from Fort Myers to Miami. His descendants stood to profit greatly from his persistence: Collier businesses own around 200,000 acres in southwest Florida. Though they donated 160,000 acres to form the Big Cypress National Preserve, they kept the mineral rights to this combined acreage.

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    Despite the potential profits from mineral rights, Sunniland is no Alaska's famed Prudhoe Bay, which boasts both the U.S.'s and North America's proved reserves and produces some 236,750 barrels of oil daily. Rather, Sunniland's 16 or 17 wells yield 2,400 barrels daily, according to the trade publication Oil and Gas Investor. A consultant who spoke to Newsweek on background because he works closely with the oil industry says that in Florida it's also more costly to seek oil, as it has to be transported by truck.

    A confluence of market forces and new technologies, however, have given prospectors more reasons to dig in Florida, including Sunniland. In the past five years, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received 39 drilling applications and granted 37 of them. (The other two applications were incomplete or withdrawn, according to the DEP.) Sixteen of these have been applied for in the past year - 14 of which are in Collier and Hendry counties, according to reports.

    Prospectors also have economic incentive to dig deeper. The few wells drilled in the lower portion of Sunniland level all showed signs of oil. This has prospectors such as Brandt Temple, president of New Orleans-based Sunrise Exploration, actively developing the area. "Sunrise identified the play in 2010 and a number of wells have been permitted or drilled so far," Temple said in an email to Newsweek. "Operators are keeping a tight lid on their results so far. Sunrise and its partners plan to drill a well in Hendry County this year."

    "Time will tell - every play is different," he added. "When we take a good look at the stunning technology breakthroughs in drilling and completions that have SAFELY revolutionized the oil and gas industry in the past decade in CO, CA, PA, TX, OK, ND, MS, LA, MI, WV, OH and Canada - there is no reason to think those same technologies will not be successful here in FL as well."

    Another draw is horizontal drilling, which allows prospectors to put a longer network of pipes in underground rock formations, and hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a., fracking. The DEP has generally downplayed potential fracking, saying that Florida's geography is not amenable to the practice. In an internal memo from 2011, one official even said it's "not a factor" in south Florida.

    In a recent email to Newsweek, department officials echoed these sentiments.

    Florida's present oilfields are not contained within shale, "the prime target of conventional hydraulic fracturing in other states." In 2012, however, a DEP official requested a conference call with a prospector, saying there is an "imminent fracking job in S. Florida," the Fort Myers News-Press first reported. The paper also notes that Alico, Inc., claims to have discovered as many as 94 tons of fracking sand in nearby Hendry County.

    Plus, there's some precedent for fracking in Florida. The DEP does have record of some wells being fracked, the last being in 2003, on the Panhandle.

    The geological traits that make Florida good for oil exploration might also make it particularly environmentally risky. Andrew Zimmerman, an associate professor in the University of Florida's geology department, tells Newsweek that the state's oil is found in cracked, porous limestone formations. This is also the same rock sourcing drinking water. Plus, south Florida already has its share of water problems. In addition to water managers constantly balancing over-wet or over-dry conditions, they are often being caught between the two bad choices of over-drawing from aquifers or dumping fresh water into the ocean. Lake Okeechobee, which is also a major player in the region's water sources, is another ongoing problem, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently diverted polluted water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers from the lake to prevent its 80-year-old dike from bursting. That has dealt a near deathblow to these rivers' estuaries, with locals complaining that the lake's waters containing agricultural chemicals from nearby farms have killed numerous manatees, dolphins, fish and oysters.

    The Everglades is also in the midst of a massive $1 billion restoration project, a joint state and federal effort which will protect some 2.4 million acres of interconnected wetlands by returning them to their natural state. These areas aren't just habitats for more than 60 threatened and endangered species. They are also integral in providing approximately 7 million south Florida residents' drinking water, according to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection. "Because of that high probability of contamination spreading itself into the aquifer, I would be very hesitant to encourage any growth of the oil industry," Zimmerman says.

    He's not coming from an alarmist standpoint, he explains, even admitting that oil exploration can be completed safely. However, there's always a risk. "If you do any type of activity long enough, you're going to have accident," and, considering the water problems in south Florida, "it's not going to be worth it."

    The developers are also asking the EPA for a permit to dig an injection well, which would pump brine, a salty, watery by-product of drilling, back into the earth for storage.

    A recent ProPublica investigation revealed that injection wells, which have been growing in popularity as a means of waste disposal, are not as safe as previously thought, having "repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water."

    In south Florida specifically, the report notes that "20 of the nation's most stringently regulated disposal wells failed in the early 1990s, releasing partly treated sewage into aquifers that may one day be needed to supply Miami's drinking water."

    Florida has another big reason to be wary. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said by many to be the worst oil spill in American history, dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing wildlife and laying waste to coastal economies dependent on the fishing and tourism industries.

    The DEP contends that Florida's oil operations have been safe throughout the years, without any "major accidents, spills, or blowouts" but admits that there have been some incidents. Since 1972, there have been 393 reported spills - totaling 1,281 barrels of crude oil spilled and 16,636 barrels of brine spilled. The DEP maintains that this amount is minimal, equating to .0002 percent of what has been produced.

    The consultant to Florida's oil industry who spoke to Newsweek on background agreed that nothing major had happened but did mention one incident pointing to pragmatic issues in addressing problems. In the early 1960s, when several fields operated on the Sunniland formation, operators decided to build a pipeline to Port Everglades, near Fort Lauderdale, rather than transport it by truck.

    The pipeline operated until the late 1990s and closed because of "corrosion issues." The pipeline couldn't be fixed because there had been so much development above where it had been placed underground - and because part of it ran through newly designated water conservation areas. So, it was drained, flushed and filled with fresh water.

    There's also the issue of wildlife - the proposed drill site is less than a mile from the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, located in what some describe as popular roaming grounds for the animals. The DEP has told residents that "the well location does not contain habitat for federal or state listed wildlife species.... No listed species have been observed on site."

    The South Florida Wildlands Association counters that there has been "an actual panther observation in the proposed drill site (a rare occurrence even for seasoned panther scientists)." Data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the conservancy continues in a letter to the DEP opposing drilling, "show the area to be a hot spot for our state animal." The commission maps provided by the conservancy show that two female and three male panthers' home ranges "either include or are immediately adjacent to the proposed drill site."

    Another three call home the Picayune Strand State Forest, which is immediately south of the proposed drill site and part of the Everglades restoration project.

    Alexis Meyer, who coordinates the Florida Sierra Club panther campaign, tells Newsweek that the challenge to panthers' viability is habitat destruction. "They have no place to go," she says. "The oil and gas exploration is happening right in panther primary habitat - which are the lands essential to their continued existence." Humans near the slated drill site area also concerned about their habitat.

    In a worst-case scenario, drilling could have deadly consequences.

    Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that smells of eggs but rivals hydrogen cyanide in its potential to kill and is often present in fields with sour crude oil, the kind found in south Florida.

    A DEP document maintains that hydrogen sulfide is not a big concern in south Florida, saying in a memo that "southwest Florida wells drilled to the lower Sunniland formation generally yield low or zero volume natural gas or H2S concentrations."

    Jennifer Jones, the coordinator referenced in the Total Safety letter to Sunniland residents, was a bit more direct when discussing safety procedure in the area, saying in April that "if something goes wrong, if a well blows up, hazardous gases can be released."

    These kinds of fears aren't fueled by mere fear-mongering. In October, a North Dakota oilfield worker died after being exposed to hydrogen sulfide on the job. In July, a father and his son-in-law died because of hydrogen sulfide exposure on a Kansas oilfield.


    As more and more Americans are learning that new drilling technologies could quickly turn the land under or next to their property into an oil field, questions about who owns mineral rights and what the owners of said rights can do with their resources abound, as well as legal confusion.

    D.R. Horton, the country's largest home builder, has held on to the mineral rights under "more than 10,000 lots" in Florida alone," including a subdivision in Naples, near Golden Gate Estates. This is a common practice "in states where shale plays are either well under way or possible," Reuters recently reported.

    Most of the affected owners didn't even know. Many of these states do not require developers to disclose this to buyers, meaning, as with D.R. Horton, a contract gives the builder "all geothermal energy and resources...on, in or under the lot." In other words, homeowners who don't own mineral rights can have hydrocarbon development on their property and have absolutely no say in the matter. (The Tampa Bay Times reports that D.R. Horton has sent letters to some Florida homeowners offering to return severed mineral rights, but it's unclear how many letters the company had sent.)

    In one Greeley, Colo. subdivision, homeowners learned, after purchasing their home, that an oil company would begin drilling under their neighborhood "right across the street," Reuters also notes. The confused residents received one consolation - the oil company would let them pick the landscaping to hide the well heads and keep noise down.

    Duran has seen firsthand how ugly this situation could get. During a meeting with prospectors to discuss their ongoing concerns, a prospector told Duran, his wife, a neighbor and several activists that they shouldn't make so much of a fuss, threatening: "If we wanted to, we could drill right on your property and there's nothing you can do about it."

    There was one consolation for Duran who, because of the oil well slated for next door, has felt pretty powerless these last few months: He made sure he owned the mineral rights under his property before moving in.

    There has been some pushback about mineral right severance in general and how they are used in Florida. Some members of the Florida house want developers to disclose to would be homeowners before they sit down to sign paperwork whether the mineral rights have been severed from their property.

    Increased attention toward Florida's petroleum resources has also rekindled conversations about the industry's future there, as State Senator Darren Soto recently penned a letter to the DEP asking for the agency "to immediately suspend all recently approved oil exploration permits in the Everglades to assure the Environmental Protection Committees in both the Senate and House have a chance to review the risks and effects of this decision." Because of backlash from Duran and other concerned residents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a public hearing March 11 before deciding whether to grant the injection well permit.
  • PopeyePopeye Posts: 14,291 AG
    that's a bedtime story
  • David BDavid B Posts: 1,907 Captain
    I'll be damned. Destroy habitat building homes in gated communities or places like Golden, but don't look for anything underneath the ground in and or around them. Keep your HOA's happy with fertilizers and pesticides, but don't build a small drilling pad.
    Pollute the waters for decades with runoff, fracture habitat to the point that restoration won't mean squat, but don't investigate energy options to fuel your boats, golf carts, yachts, caddies and beamers. I don't get these people. At what point do the E-whacks determine that what they have and have done doesn't mean squat to the environment (Glades) and that anything further is the absolute end of it all? Eff-em. They can tear down their's and start there with the restoration or ****.
    Increasing MMGW or climate change, one twist off at a time.
  • jad1097jad1097 Posts: 9,611 Admiral
    I fell asleep three time while reading it
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