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Texas Oil Company Begins Seismic Tests Near Chipola River, Dead Lakes Region

A Texas oil company has begun seismic testing in Calhoun and Gulf counties near the Chipola River and Dead Lakes region, according to a company spokeswoman.

The process involves detonating small-scale charges in about 1,000 shot holes and then mapping the sound waves. State regulators heavily monitor the operation and cleanup should be done by Labor Day, says local consultant Linda Lampl.

“There will be a seismic explorer with each person that’s known as the shooter. There will be a seismic observer with that person also. And then in any of the cleanup, DEP will oversee that and make sure there’s seismic observers with them also.”

The activity has sparked rumors that hydraulic fracturing is about to begin. But Lampl says the company will have to determine whether drilling makes economic sense, and even then, it would have to apply for drilling permits. That process could take up to a year.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.