The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officially filed a lawsuit Friday in a Collier County circuit court against the Dan A. Hughes Company on four counts, which include not following a consent order signed by both parties.
DEP also revoked all permits held by the company in Florida. Dan A. Hughes was penalized months ago for using an unauthorized drilling procedure similar to fracking. DEP claimed the company has not followed recent demands-- such as providing more information about what happened at the site.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has been asking state officials to revoke the company’s permit, as well as charge them for local groundwater testing. Jennifer Hecker, the group’s Natural Resources Director, says this is great news, but lawmakers have more work to do.
“We are heartened that DEP finally revoked these permits and is moving forward with the proper enforcement to keep Dan A. Hughes from undertaking any other inappropriate activity, but we need to get at the underlying issues of the lack of laws and regulations to properly regulate this entire industry,” Hecker said. “Until we do that we run the risk of having this very situation happen, again.”
The Dan A. Hughes Company has said it has not broken any state laws or regulations. Company officials said in a statement they look forward to "airing the facts” in court.
A spokesman said the lawsuit is the "first time any such allegation has been made." Following the state’s lawsuit, Dan A. Hughes filed legal action compelling DEP to respond to a challenge to the consent order by Collier Commissioners. Another legal action asks DEP to address a records request filed by the Company in June.