Florida and fracking

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Florida has a long history of oil drilling in parts of southwest Florida and the Panhandle. Fracking is not taking place in the state, however in October 2013, the Fort Myers News-Press reported that it had obtained emails from the Department of Environmental Protection indicating discussions had been taking place about the possibility of fracking in Florida.[1] In Feburary 2016 the state passed a bill that would allow fracking to occur.[2]


Since 1943 Florida The state has produced approximately 25 billion gallons. Drilling peaked in the late 1970s.

The Sunniland Trend, located in Collier, Hendry, Lee and Miami-Dade counties has produced through conventional drilling. The Northwestern part of the state in Jay Field, located in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties has also produced through conventional drilling.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that oil and gas may be located Gulf and Calhoun counties based on logs from exploratory wells drilled in the area between the 1940s and late 1980s. A basin located 15,000 feet underground appears similar to areas in Northwestern Florida Santa Rosa and Escambia counties holding significant amounts of oil from the Smackover formation.[3]


In March 2013, the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee voted unanimously to approve a measure (HB 743) that would direct the state Department of Environmental Protection to set up a registry to collect the information about chemicals and volumes of water used in the fracking process, should fracking occur in the state. The Senate version (SB 1028) had been filed but not yet heard in a committee. The Florida Petroleum Council expressed support for the bill.[1]

In 2014 Florida produced 222,700 barrels (9.4 million gallons) of crude oil.[4]

In 2014 Collier County residents and county officials spoke out against a form of unconventional drilling called acidification. Of concern is Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Co acidification of the wetlands near Naples.[5]

The Tallahassee Democrat reported in 2015 that Cholla Petroleum, a Dallas, Texas oil company’s plan to search for oil and gas in North Florida in Calhoun and Gulf counties near the Apalachicola and Chipola rivers. Some residents fear that the company plans to do hydraulic fracturing. Cholla also wants to expand to the wetlands 17 miles south of Blountstown in Calhoun County and north of Wewahitchka in coastal Gulf County.[6]

LNG terminal

Carib Energy

In 2014, the Carib Energy plant in Martin County, Florida, was granted a license to export 40 million cubic feet a day of natural gas to nearly any country, including those without a free trade agreement with the U.S. Carib is already exporting LNG in shipping containers to Caribbean and Central American countries.[7] Carib Energy is now a subsidiary of the Crowley Maritime Corporation.[8]

Citizen activism

There is environmentalist organizing against drilling in the Big Cypress National Preserve, where drilling is currently allowed. Big Cypress National Preserve protects over 729,000 acres of swamp containing both tropical and temperate plant communities. The land filters water into an underground aquifer that provides drinking water for the city of Naples. Of particular interest to drillers is a geological area called the Sunniland Trend beneath the preserve. [9]

February 1, 2016: A group of protesters, which included elected officials and environmental activists, staged a rally outside State Sen. Thad Altman’s office in Cape Canaveral, Florida to voice their concerns of efforts to allow fracking in Tallahassee. The group demanded Sen. Altman back a fracking ban in order to protect Florida's water quality and environment.[10]


In 2014 Texas-based oil company Dan A. Hughes Co. was cited for illegal fracking in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which is nesting site for wood storks. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection sanctioned and fined the company $25,000 for fracking without a permit. However, the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection was criticized for not immediately disclosing the sanctions and fine to the public.[11]

Legislative issues and regulations

In November 2014 two Florida State Senators, Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, and Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, filed legislation that, if passed, would ban fracking in the state to protect the water supply, environment and robust tourism economy.[12] That bill failed to pass, but was reintroduced in 2015.[13]

In June 2015 legislators passed a ruling allowing customers of Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, to pay up to $500 million a year in unregulated natural gas hydraulic fracturing projects. Florida Power and & Light will be the first utility in the nation to be allowed to use ratepayer money for such an unregulated risk.[14]

In December 2015 the decision Florida if FP&L can bill customers for fracking expedition was kicked to the Florida Supreme Court.[15]

In November 2015 Florida county commissioners opposed a push by state lawmakers that would curtail their ability to regulate or ban fracking in their counties. As of November 2015, 20 counties in Florida had fracking bans, including Leon and Miami-Dade. The bans covered 43 percent of the state's population, or 8 million people. However, state bills (HB 191 and SB 318) would curtail county's ability to regulate fracking, and instead would manage this type of resource development at the state level. The proposed state bills would take away the county or city's ability to ban fracking. Only zoning ordinances passed prior 2015 would be enforceable if these state measures pass.[16]

Broward County Commission has proposed a blanket ban on fracking throughout the county after a landowner, Kanter Real Estate, request to drill an exploratory well in the Everglades. Kanter owns 20,000 undeveloped acres in the Everglades, west of the city of Miramar. A public hearing will take place January 12, 2016.[17]

In February 2016, the Florida House approved a bill that would regulate fracking in the state. HB 191 will allow fracking, however this drilling will not be allowed until after a report by state environmental regulators is released in 2017. Earlier the Florida House rejected a measure that would have forced the oil and gas industry to "disclose carcinogens and monitor the effects of fracking on pregnant women and drinking water."[2] Even so, the bill would prevent local governments from banning fracking within their jurisdiction.[18]

Citizen groups

Industry groups



  1. 1.0 1.1 Jim Saunders, [http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/florida-lawmakers-lay-groundwork-for-natural-gas-f/nWkTk/ "Florida lawmakers lay groundwork for natural gas 'fracking,'” News Service of Florida, March 7, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Florida House approves bill to authorize, regulate fracking" Mary Ellen Klaus, Miami Herald, January 27, 2016.
  3. "Fracking fears surface in North Florida" By Jeff Burlew, Tallahassee Democrat, October 23, 2015.
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum & Other Liquids," Eia.gov, Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  5. "Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades" By Greg Allen, NPR, July 2, 2014.
  6. "Fracking fears surface in North Florida" By Jeff Burlew, Tallahassee Democrat, October 23, 2015.
  7. Timothy Cama, "DOE clears natural gas exports at two sites," The Hill, Sep. 10, 2014.
  8. "Carib Energy is Now a Crowley Company" Crowley company website, accessed September 14, 2015.
  9. "Environmentalists Sound Alarm On Proposed Drilling Near Florida Everglades" Greg Allen, NPR, April 22, 2014.
  10. "Protesters raise voices against fracking" Floriday Today, February 1, 2016.
  11. "DEP Bust Everglads Oil Driller For Fracking, Clams Up, Slammed for Cover-Up." Red Ant, New Times, April 22, 2014.
  12. "State Senators File Anti-Fracking Bill" CBS Miami, December 2, 2014.
  13. "Battle to Keep Florida Frack-Free Heats Up" Julie Dermansky, Alternet, November 16, 2015.
  14. "FPL customers will be charged for fracking activities, board says" By Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald, June 15, 2015.
  15. "Florida Supreme Court to decide if FP&L can bill customers for fracking expedition" By Troy Kinsey, Capital Reporter, December 12, 2015.
  16. "Counties oppose bills to pre-empt fracking bans" Jeff Burlew, Tallahassee Democrat, November 28, 2015.
  17. "To Protect Everglades Broward Proposes Ban On Fracking" Jerry Iannelli, New Times, January 12, 2016.
  18. "Unlikely Battle Over Fracking Intensifies in Florida" Lizette Alvarez, February 23, 2016.

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