“Our government can’t really be this stupid, can it? Our Florida Department of Environmental Protection intends to allow one of the dirtiest industries on the planet to dig oil wells in the floodplain of one of the most ecologically important river systems in the country.”
- Excerpted from an opinion piece in the Tallahassee Democrat by Pam McVety, a former biologist at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.1
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is poised to approve new, dirty, and dangerous onshore oil drilling in the Florida Panhandle that could contaminate the drinking water for millions of Floridians across the state.
This comes at a time when Floridians are increasingly demanding government action to combat the effects of climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Yet DeSantis and his administration are poised to allow exploratory oil drilling within the ecologically sensitive Apalachicola River floodplain.
Recently, the DEP indicated it will issue six exploratory oil drilling permits in Calhoun County, within the Apalachicola River basin, and another in Gulf County. Approving these exploratory drilling permits makes no sense considering the enormous threat oil drilling poses to the panhandle’s environment, economy and public health.
As reported by the Tallahassee Democrat, the exploratory wells in Calhoun County would reach into the Floridan aquifer – the source of drinking water for roughly ten million people.
The proposed drilling rigs would be located within the Apalachicola River basin and close to flowing river waters during normal high flows, when ninety-five percent of the Apalachicola River floodplain is connected aquatic habitat. Worse yet, during major flood events, the drilling operation would be surrounded by flowing water.
If oil or gas is found at these initial well sites, the fossil fuel companies will be clamoring to expand their activity even further. That means more drilling platforms, roads, pipelines, and other damaging infrastructure, more dangerous transportation of oil or gas, and more damage to the area’s sensitive ecology and threats to public health. We need to stop this shortsighted, greed-driven, environmentally disastrous project in its tracks.
Florida’s tourism-based economy relies on good stewardship of our natural resources and we are ground zero for climate change in North America. If Gov. DeSantis were the environmentalist he claims to be, he would embrace clean renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, and reject drilling into Florida’s delicate ecology in search of dirty fossil fuels and profits for a Texas based oil company.
Thank you for standing with us in defense of Florida’s environment.
1 "Florida, are we really this stupid?" Tallahassee Democrat, 11/7/19.