Target: Dan Hughes, President of Dan A. Hughes Company
Goal: Insist that the company comply with all applicable laws in its oil drilling operations
Communities around the United States have worked to ban the highly destructive oil drilling technique known as fracking. Citizens of Florida were outraged to learn that an oil company had undertaken an even more polluting process, acid fracking, without obtaining a permit. Traditional fracking injects water to break up rock under tremendous pressure. As its name implies, acid fracking utilizes corrosive acids to dissolve the rock in order to free up oil deposits. Little has been done to study acid fracking or its impact on groundwater and human health, and the state’s drilling regulators did little to rein in the highly controversial activity.
Conservationists and the government aren’t always on the same page when it comes to fracking and other fossil fuels extraction, but the Dan A. Hughes Company managed to anger members of the public and elected officials with its brazen acid fracking. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined the company and urged it to cease operations until testing could be done to determine whether or not fracking had contaminated the water supply. Dan A. Hughes refused to comply and continued fracking near the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and other sensitive lands in Collier County, according to local paper The News-Press.
Collier County commissioners waged a legal battle with DEP, writes NPR, in which members of local government criticized the agency for not doing enough to protect the public. Officials at DEP eventually let the oil company continue operations after it agreed to pay a fine and monitor the water table. It wasn’t until nearly six months after the fracking took place that groundwater monitoring finally wrapped up, bringing into question the accuracy of any results.
While Dan A. Hughes may have stopped acid fracking for the time being the public is understandably concerned that the company will resume and that regulators will once again look the other way. Demand that the Dan A. Hughes Company comply with all local, state and federal laws regarding fossil fuel extraction and refrain from illegal acid fracking whether in Florida or elsewhere.
Dear Mr. Hughes,
Your company’s willingness to engage in illegal acid fracking near Florida’s Everglades is despicable. Endangering area residents and sensitive swamp ecosystems with this untested process was irresponsible and, quite frankly, criminal.
State regulators urged Dan A. Hughes Company to cease its extraction using the controversial technique until the impacts could be monitored, yet you refused. How can you justify this selfishness and disregard for the common good? One can assume that your only consideration is increased profits. You clearly have no respect for human health or the environment.
While you may have won an eventual consent order from the state, allowing you to resume acid fracking with legal protection, this does not change the fact that you initiated the process prior to obtaining permission. I support Florida residents in urging regulators to stand up against such behavior in the future–and in demanding that you never again attempt to illegally extract fossil fuels.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Linda S. Jacobson via Flickr