To: Georgia A. Hiller, Esq., Chairwoman, Tom Henning, Vice Chairman, Donna Fiala, Fred W. Coyle, and Tim Nance
COMMISSIONERS: BAN FRACKING IN COLLIER COUNTY
For months, we've been working to prevent the expansion of new oil drilling in Naples, Florida—only 1,000 feet from family homes on a 115,000-acre parcel leased for oil exploration in the Big Cypress Swamp watershed. This is about more than just one oil well. This is about the cumulative effect of hundreds of wells that will follow. New oil drilling will contribute to climate change and endanger water, wetlands, wildlife, and communities. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Collier Enterprises, and Hughes Oil tell us they don't plan to frack. Now is the time to hold them to their promise—with an oil drilling ordinance. We're calling on Collier County Commissioners Hiller, Henning, Fiala, Coyle, and Nance to adopt the following ordinance: "Collier County shall protect the health, safety, and welfare of citizens by banning hydraulic fracturing."
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The drill site is only 1000 feet from family homes and adjacent to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Western Everglades. If it's legal, it shouldn't be. No one should have to live in an emergency evacuation zone, only feet from a hazardous drill site and 145' oil rig. Concerns include public safety, emergency evacuation, fresh water contamination, fire threat, oil and toxic brine spills, sinkhole hazard, risks to wetlands, consumptive water use, encroachment on panther habitat, traffic danger, and pollution of the watersheds that feed our state and national parks
The drill site and entire lease area is one of the most ecologically sensitive regions of the nation. It is surrounded—east, south, west, and north—by a vast array of wetlands, acquired at great public cost, to protect native plants and animals and safeguard vital watersheds. Consider the Everglades National Park, directly downstream. Congress authorized a 30-year Everglades Restoration Plan dedicated to restoring the South Florida ecosystem. Why allow oil drilling to endanger that $13 billion dollar project? The Everglades is a national treasure on par with the Grand Canyon and Redwoods. It’s far more valuable than even a major oil play. It's our life-blood, fueling everything from agriculture to Florida’s multi-billion dollar tourist industry.
A major concern is the real danger drilling poses to our fresh water. It’s crucial to protect the aquifers that supply South Florida with its drinking water and safeguard watersheds that sustain wetlands. Accidents happen. And over time, pipes leak. And injected fluids surface. And, as in the BP disaster, cement casings crumble. One accident could ruin our fresh water and wetlands for generations. The risks are too great and benefits too small. Oil drilling is not in the public interest.