Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida’s Everglades
As oil production goes, Florida isn’t much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.
That’s about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.
One of the areas targeted for oil drilling is at Jaime Duran’s doorstep in the southwestern part of the state. A retired engineer, Duran lives in a cottage with his wife, Pamela, and the chickens they raise on a 5-acre plot. Last year, the Durans were surprised when a man came by with information about a plot of land just 1,300 feet from their house.
“He said he wasn’t supposed to tell us a lot of things,” Jaime Duran says. “But he says, basically, they’re putting an oil well there.”
The man was from a company hired by the driller. He delivered a letter that warned residents that they were in an evacuation zone, and of the possibility of a release of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. Duran and his wife began doing research and asking questions.
The more they learned, the more alarmed they became, Duran says.
“Our biggest concern is not the hydrogen sulfide,” he says. “Our biggest concern is the brine, the produced waters. Every gallon of oil that they extract, they will get 20 gallons of salt water. And that salt water is toxic.”
A Texas company has already received permission from the state to drill an exploratory well on the land. The Dan A. Hughes Co. is now seeking permission for an injection well that would accommodate the millions of gallons of toxic brine produced in the drilling process.
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