Audubon Florida News

Topic: Everglades,Oil Drilling,State Government



Fracking in Florida Update: August 2014

posted on August 4, 2014 in Everglades,Oil Drilling,State Government

takeaction_stopfrackinginfloridaLast spring, you added your name to Audubon’s petition to show the oil and gas industry that Floridians stand united to protect Florida’ water resources. Your strong voice helped defeat two controversial fracking bills poised for legislative action.

At the time, there were noplanned fracking projects in Florida, but there was deep concern about HB 71 and HB 157These two bills cut off the public’s right to know the details of what chemicals are used during the fracking process.

Much has happened since that time. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been at odds with the Dan A. Hughes Company over drilling operations in Collier County that crossed the line into exploratory fracking.

At the end of 2013, the company utilized a procedure called “acid stimulation” to increase the flow of oil coming out of their Collier Hogan well. Such extreme extraction techniques were not authorized by the DEP permit, triggering a train of legal actions and communication gridlock.

DEP ended the year by issuing a cease & desist order to the Dan A. Hughes Company, followed by a Consent Order which culminated in all of the company’s permits being revoked on July 18, 2014. Along the way, the Dan A. Hughes company resisted disclosing full and complete information about the chemicals used in this process, which was precisely Audubon’s concern about HB 71 and HB 157.

The Collier County Commission played a strong role in demanding answers and holding regulators accountable, as did many of you as these battles waged on. Count on fracking being a topic for discussion during the 2015 Florida Legislative Session and know that together we will make our voices heard to oppose this harmful drilling technique.

Thank you for all that you do for Florida.

Take Action: Stop Fracking in Florida

posted on January 17, 2014 in Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy,Water Issues

takeaction_stopfrackinginflorida Add your name to Audubon’s petition to protect Florida’s water right now.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is the use of sand, water, and chemicals, injected at incredibly high pressures, to blast open rock deep beneath the surface of the earth to release trapped oil and gas.

Unfortunately, Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Ft. Myers) has introduced two bills this session that would make it easier for this controversial oil and gas extraction process to take place in Florida.

While there are no planned fracking projects in Florida as of yet, the two bills below will cut off the public’s right to know the details of the chemical mix that is pumped into the ground during the fracking process.

Join thousands of others in opposition to fracking in Florida. Click here to add your name to this petition right now so we can show the oil and gas industry that Floridians stand united to protect Florida’s incredible water resources.

Click here to learn more about these bills and how you can take action.

PRESS STATEMENT: RESTORE Act Passes as Part of Transportation Bill

posted on June 29, 2012 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Press Releases

Today’s passage of the RESTORE Act as part of a larger transportation bill ensures the dedication of 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf Coast restoration. The RESTORE Act will set up the framework for what is almost certain to be the single largest investment ever by the United States Congress in environmental restoration.

Audubon congratulates Senator Nelson and other members of the House and Senate who championed this bill for Florida and all of the fragile ecosystems along the Gulf.

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2012

Contact: Julie Wraithmell, Director of Wildlife Conservation, jwraithmell@audubon.org, 850-222-2473

RESTORE Act Passes as Part of Transportation Bill

STATEMENT FROM ERIC DRAPER, AUDUBON FLORIDA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

Tallahassee, FL – “Senator Bill Nelson’s RESTORE Act brings BP oil spill penalties back to Florida to help our coastal habitats and communities.  We are grateful that Nelson got the bill passed and got the job done.”

STATEMENT FROM JULIE WRAITHMELL, AUDUBON FLORIDA DIRECTOR OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION:

Tallahassee, FL- “Congratulations to all who care about the unique ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. Our thanks to Senator Bill Nelson for his leadership on this win for wildlife, water quality, and the Gulf way of life.”

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RESTORE Act Vote Today – Contact Senator Rubio Right Now!

posted on March 8, 2012 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling

Has Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) changed his mind about the RESTORE Act (S. 1400)? A bill he has supported for the past 6 months?

Now this legislation is in amendment form and also guarantees funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

**BREAKING NEWS: this amendment will be voted on this afternoon.

Suddenly, Senator Rubio has made it clear that he is undecided on this critical legislation. Your call right now can make a difference.  We only have until 2:00 this afternoon so please call now: 202-224-3041

Tell the Senator that Floridians want him to vote YES on Nelson(FL)-Shelby-Landrieu #1822 (RESTORE). Thank you!

**UPDATE: Audubon Florida is in contact with Senator Rubio’s offices on this important issue. Keep your calls coming. 

**UPDATE 2: Senator Rubio voted against the amendment, which passed in a 76-22 vote. Click here for more information.

Drilling Bill Falters in Senate Committee—Your Emails and Calls Made the Difference!

posted on February 21, 2012 in Oil Drilling,State Government

This morning, the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee failed to take up SB 1158 by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) when Chairman Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) moved to “TP” or “temporarily postpone” the bill. While this would ordinarily mean the bill could be taken up at future committee meetings, it is effectively a roadblock to the bill, since today was the committee’s last meeting.

The House companion, HB 695 by Rep. Clay Ford (R-Gulf Breeze), will be heard in its next committee stop, State Affairs, Wednesday at 9AM.

As we reported in the Audubon Advocate last Friday, these bills seek to make it much easier for oil companies to explore and drill on our protected lands, including Blackwater River State Forest.

As currently written, these bills would limit the amount of time state regulators have to complete comprehensive environmental impact reviews of exploration and drilling proposals and give exclusive drilling rights to the exploration company.

The motivation behind this bill?

Texas oil drilling and exploration company is currently conducting seismic investigations now in Alabama and wants exclusive rights to continue their activities across the state line and into Florida.

Once again, Audubon Advocates made the difference. Stay informed, stay connected and together we are making a difference for Florida!

A special thank you goes out to Francis M. Weston Audubon Society  and Chapter President Dana Timmons  for traveling to Tallahassee to engage on this critical issue. Excellent work!

Audubon Defends State Lands Against Oil Drilling

posted on February 14, 2012 in Oil Drilling,State Government

On Monday, Audubon Florida stood strong against the bill that would allow drilling on state lands, SB 1158. Audubon Florida’s Director of Wildlife Conservation Julie Wraithmell testified against the bill, but unfortunately in a 10-4 vote, the bill passed the Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities. Before the vote, the committee adopted a vague amendment to the bill that seemed to narrow the scope of the proposal, but offered little on specifics. Audubon will continue to monitor this bill closely as it moves through the legislative process. Next stop: the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

From the Florida Current:

Senators on the energy committee repeatedly asked where drilling could occur if the bill passed. [Senator] Evers said he didn’t have a list of those state lands or a map.

The committee on Monday adopted an amendment by Evers to allow the partnership agreements only on state lands whose management plans have been amended by the state Acquisition and Restoration Council to allow drilling.

Opponents said there already is a process in state law that allows companies to seek lease arrangements with public lands agencies. Opponents included Audubon of FloridaSierra Club FloridaClean Water Action and the Everglades Foundation.

“I will say land management plans are changed regularly,” said Julie Wraithmell of Audubon of Florida. She said the bill “leaves the door open to look at other property to amend those plans, to expand it [drilling] to other locations.”

Stay tuned for more information or for ways you can help. During the final weeks of the Legislative Session, issues move quickly and often with little warning. Bookmark this site for the latest on how you can make a difference.

Oil Companies Push to Open Florida’s Public Lands to Drilling

With support from the Florida Petroleum Council and Associated Industries of Florida, HB 695 by Rep. Ford (R-Gulf Breeze) passed the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee and will now move on to Appropriations. This bill and its Senate companion, SB 1158 by Sen. Evers (R-Crestview)creates a mechanism for public land managers to entertain proposals for oil and gas leases on public uplands. Largely thought to be intended for public lands in NW Florida like Blackwater State Forest (a recent Florida’s Special Places nominee), this bill would be applicable statewide, including Southwest Florida where commercial oil and gas extraction is currently active.

The Senate bill has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing in the Senate, where if it is scheduled, the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will be a key battleground committee for conservation interests. This issue is still developing; stay tuned for more this week on how best to lend your voice to this issue.

Governor Scott: Everglades Oil Drilling “Not on the Table”

posted on September 7, 2011 in Everglades,Oil Drilling

In response to comments he made about the future of oil drilling in the Everglades, Governor Rick Scott made it clear through a spokesperson that discussion on expanding drilling in our imperiled wetlands is not on the table.”

Audubon applauds the Governor’s decision to take a stand against increased drilling in this critical natural area.

Oil drilling has been taking place in the Everglades in various, limited form since 1943. Audubon of Florida supports the buying back of those drilling leases by the state.

You can stay connected to the urgent news coming out of the Greater Everglades by signing up to receive our Restore eNewsletter – make a difference for our one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

White House: No Drilling Off Florida Coast for Seven Years

posted on December 1, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling

Later today, the White House is expected to announce they will extend the moratorium on oil drilling off of the coast of Florida for the next 7 years.  This is a change from earlier in the year when the President was open to expanded drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Miami Herald reports that a senior Administration official said the change was made due to safety concerns in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to make an official announcement at a press conference this afternoon. Please check back to this blog post for updates and reaction.

UPDATE #1 – Listen to Audubon of Florida Executive Director Eric Draper comment about this issue on WFSU Public Radio.

Florida House Bows to Petroleum Industry

posted on July 20, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Oil Drilling,Online Advocacy

The Florida House and Senate convened a Special Session today, called by Governor Charlie Crist, to place an amendment on the November ballot that would enshrine Florida’s prohibition against nearshore oil drilling in the Florida Constitution.

While Florida has a drilling ban in statute, that law has narrowly escaped being overturned in the last two legislative sessions by legislators at the behest of the oil industry.

The decision before legislators today was whether they would allow the people to decide on a permanent oil drilling ban. If 60 percent of voters agreed this November, the prohibition would have become constitutional, removing the Legislature’s ability to overturn it.

Rather than consider the measure, the House decided it would rather not let the people vote. In a strategy described by some as “gavel and go,” the House convened and a majority voted to adjourn without taking up the constitutional amendment resolution. See how your representative voted here (a “yes” vote was a vote to adjourn the session without considering the drilling ban amendment. “No” votes wanted the issue to be heard.)

The Florida Senate convened shortly before the House adjourned, discussed the issue briefly and also voted to adjourn without considering the matter. Senators Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), and bill sponsor Alex Villalobos (R-Miami), dissented that the public deserved for them to vote on the constitutional amendment, even if it could not be placed on the ballot without House concurrence. Nevertheless, the Senate voted to adjourn without a vote on the drilling ban. See how your senator voted here (again, a “yes” vote was a vote to adjourn the session without considering the issue).

Hundreds of Floridians from around the state converged on the Capitol today to urge the Legislature to let the people vote and were essentially ignored by this swift decision. The House of Representatives’ behavior today was a sobering display of the petroleum industry’s influence in the political process at the expense of the people of Florida.

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