Dan A. Hughes Oil spokesman: ‘It wasn't a fine’

CREATED Apr 24, 2014

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A spokesman with the Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Oil Company is speaking out to Fox 4 on the exploratory oil drilling procedures happening in Collier County.

“The company is in full compliance with all the laws and regulations with the State of Florida,” said David Blackmon, Dan A. Hughes spokesman. “The well was properly permitted, we had absolute authority to drill the well.”

The conversation with the oil giant’s spokesman comes days after the Collier County Board of Commission agreed to look deeper into oil exploration happening in Collier.

“To say we are outraged is an understatement,” said Karen Dwyer, one of the protestors showing up to the meeting happening earlier this week.

Residents near the injection well owned by Dan A. Hughes are asking more answers after the company and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection agreed to a consent order. The settlement was reached after the oil company was issued a cease and desist order for performing a procedure similar to fracking in the days leading up to the end of 2013.

“Now the people of Golden Gate Estates are wondering what’s in our water,” said another concerned citizen.

Those questions are still lingering, but Fox 4 is uncovering new details into the settlement reached between the oil company and the State.

Dan A. Hughes, named “The Company” in the document, agreed to pay $25,000 in settlements to the State: $20,000 for “civil payments” and $5,000 for “costs incurred by the department during the investigation.”

Some call this a fine, but the Dan A. Hughes spokesman says it was just a negotiation to avoid an appeals process.

“Well it wasn’t a fine,” said Blackmon, “If you actually read the consent order – the statement agreement it was entered into – it was a civil payment that’s designed to reimburse the DEP for the cost that they incurred.”

Despite public concern, the spokesman also insists the procedure preformed was not fracking and the community and the environment are not in any danger.

“Accidents can always happen, but yeah, this is a very safe and well-regulated and proven procedure,” said Blackmon.

To read the document yourself, click here.