Sunshine Elementary Oil Well
Activities Need More Coverage
By Carl-John X. Veraja
Since the oil well near the Sunshine Elementary on 601 Sara Ave. N is, well, near an elementary school, it seems worth mentioning a few things.
First off, the company running the well is BreitBurn, which recently has been fighting efforts to stop fracking in Los Angeles.
They disguised fracking wells in Los Angeles. Perhaps if they disguised the rig behind Sunshine Elementary as a cypress, environmentalists would switch sides.
On 7-15-2014, there was a crew there in the morning. When I went by the next day at 4:30 p.m., there was no one around.
A 7/15/2014 article released late at night indicated it was just “routine maintenance” involving “one of its pumps.” However, the use of only Breitburn and the DEP as sources left me uneasy with the article’s conclusions.
Since I’ve heard from two sources, one quoting the DEP’s Ed Garrett and also via an oil company owner, that acidizing always occurs at Southwest Florida wells, some forms of which can definitely be described as “acid fracking”, one is forced to wonder if that sort of thing that is being planned here.
What is clear is that it’s not just routine maintenance, unless that routine involves sinking over 1000 feet of pipe. Here’s a picture from 2 days before the top picture that shows the pipe involved.
Recently, the DEP stated it would sue Dan A. Hughes over its failure to comply with demands with a July 15th deadline. An article today pointed out, as I have, that the DEP previously failed to inform the public about a couple of acid frackings done by that company. It took the DEP from December 31,2013 until April 18,2014 to tell the public that acid frackings had occurred, three days after rejecting advice to stop permitting a well on a residential street in Golden Gate Estates.
One of the problems with the permitting the Golden Gate Estates well was the lack of a safety plan where so many residents could be impacted.
As it turn out, this same problem exists at Sunshine Elementary. A News-Press article by Steve Doane pointed out, on May 11, 2014, that no safety plans exists. The well was, at that time, referred to as Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. Well No. 26-2. It also noted that there have been 8 “minor infractions” since Sunshine Elementary was constructed.
The new well might bring new sorts of infractions. One source says the tilt of the rig indicates directional drilling is planned, another red flag.
An NBC-2 article points out that the well has been “operational since the 1970s” but not that this could be a whole new idea on that well. In fact, new operations often are positioned around old ones, or failed test wells. Breitburn just took it over. Youngquist Brothers, who provide acidizing and fracking services, have their trademark green equipment on site.
The article also says they’ve “never used any kind of fracking techniques” here. That doesn’t mean that they won’t now that they’ve got the new equipment in place.
If the lack of safety plans was enough to sway experts and promote legal action at the Golden Gate Estates well, shouldn’t it be more than enough to sway more concern than a tiny buried article on the NBC-2 website?
Especially when an elementary school is right next door?
I’m sounding code yellow for caution: this needs another look.
Are you a parent of a Sunshine Elementary student? Watch Gasland and Fractured Country. This will give you an idea of how these sorts of companies operate, and what values they bring into a community.
Parents are so concerned about school safety that some people want to arm teachers. When two companies involved in fracking start a new operation in a school’s backyard should it be treated as non-news?
Consolidated-Tomoka, for whom the well is named, indicated the extent of oil and gas leasing in this SEC filing. UNDER ITEM 7:
“During 2011, an eight-year oil exploration lease covering approximately 136,000 net mineral acres primarily located in Lee County and Hendry County, Florida was executed and a $913,657 first year rental payment was received. An additional $922,114, representing the guaranteed payment for the second year’s delay rent, was received in September 2012. The two payments totaling approximately $1.83 million have been recognized ratably into income through September 2013.”
Florida Weekly previously noted that some 800,000 acres are drillable/frackable if all leased out by Collier Resources.