Of the nine oil and gas exploration permits pending with the state, six are in North Florida. And even though they’ve not been approved yet, environmentalists are wary.
Texas-based oil and gas exploration company Cholla Petroleum has applied for six permits in Calhoun County. Apalachicola River Keeper Georgia Ackerman says her group is fielding calls from people in the area concerned about the potential impact. The sites are located in a flood plain.
“We’ve got six potential oil wells sitting between the Dead Lakes, Chipola River and Apalachicola River in that floodplain. So that’s something we’re working on.”
Calhoun County Commissioners approved the company’s request to explore for oil and gas last year. The permit applications were filed in August and are listed as under review on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's website. Cholla is the same company that performed seismic testing in the area two years ago.
Meanwhile Spooner Petroleum of Mississippi received an exploration permit to drill in the area in December. Ackerman claims that well came up dry.
"So the company that wants to come in really needs to make a case this can be found and present data. That’s something the state is then charged with evaluating and making a decision to allow or deny a permit.”
DEP says Florida produces about two million barrels of oil a year, about what Floridians consume each day.
*Correction: Spooner Petroleum, not Cholla, was the company that drilled a well that came up empty.