DEP letter to oil well driller outlines required steps to restore public confidence

An aerial view of the Collier-Hogan well, south of Lake Trafford near Immokalee on Friday, May 16, 2014 in Naples, Florida. (Dania Maxwell/Staff)

An aerial view of the Collier-Hogan well, south of Lake Trafford near Immokalee on Friday, May 16, 2014 in Naples, Florida. (Dania Maxwell/Staff)

June Fletcher, (@NDN_Fletcher)

— UPDATE: DEP Sec. Herschel Vinyard sent a letter Friday to Collier Resources saying it would hold their contractor, the Dan A. Hughes Co., accountable for its actions and deficiencies.

LETTER TO COLLIER RESOURCES: DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. issued a letter on July 4 to Collier Resources

LETTER TO DAN A. HUGHES: DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. issued a letter on July 3 to Dan A. Hughes Company

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The state’s top environmental administrator sent a letter Thursday to the Dan A. Hughes Co., outlining nine steps the oil well driller needs to take to restore public confidence in its activities at the Collier Hogan well.

“The DEP’s job is to protect the public and the environment,” Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard told the Daily News. “We believe the activities at the well have made people uneasy about the oil industry and what was done.

“If they don’t comply, we will hold them accountable,” Vinyard continued, adding that noncompliance could range from a $10,000 fine to pulling the permit at the well.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

Vinyard’s letter was released just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the night before the holiday weekend began. After the letter’s release, David Blackmon, spokesman for the Hughes Co., was unavailable for immediate comment.

In the letter to the Beeville, Texas-based company, Vinyard wrote:

“As companies across Florida have treated natural treasures with respect, your enterprise is the only one that engaged in an unauthorized acid treatment at the Collier Hogan well For some time, we have worked with you to operate transparently by asking you to share information and meet with families in Collier County. However, Dan A. Hughes has moved slowly on these requests, and your inaction is unacceptable.”

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