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State Officials Announce Lawsuit Against Embattled Oil Company Drilling In Collier County

The official Flickr site of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.

Florida’s environmental agency announced Tuesday evening it’s suing the Dan A. Hughes Company. The news follows a very public battle over the company’s use of an unauthorized drilling method in Collier County several months ago.

The Texas-based oil company and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began trading heated press releases through the media Tuesday.

Back in April, the company used an unauthorized fracking-like method to extract more oil at what’s called the Collier-Hogan well near Lake Trafford in Immokalee.

Dan A. Hughes contends it has not broken Florida’s laws and has done everything its power to avoid litigation following the incident, but the DEP doesn’t see it that way.

State officials said in a statement the company did not meet the agency’s demands by its deadline. DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard said in a statement, “it is clear that the Company has not taken seriously the Department’s demands to protect Collier County families or Florida’s natural resources.”

State officials are suing to shut down operations at the Collier-Hogan site and seek more financial damages.

However, earlier in the day, Dan A. Hughes announced it was ceasing operations at the well until further notice. In a statement, the company claimed the decision was operational and was “not due to any request or demand from any third party.”

The company also sent a letter to DEP, which it claims addressed the agency’s demands. A spokesman for the company said DEP’s lawsuit represented a “willful denial of due process.”

Environmental groups have been calling on the DEP to pull the company’s permit altogether. Earlier this week, Hughes announced it wouldn’t be seeking oil exploration permits anywhere else in Florida, either. 

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
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