Fracking by the Numbers: New Environment Florida Research and Policy Center Report First to Quantify Threat of Gas Drilling

Media Contacts
Jennifer Rubiello

Environment Florida

NAPLES, Fla. – Today, a new Environment Florida Research and Policy Center report called “Fracking by the Numbers” measures the damage being done by dirty drilling across the country. As state and national agencies consider fracking permits in Florida, the report is the first study of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking damage to date— including toxic wastewater, water use, chemical use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions. The report finds that the total volume of fracking waste generated across the country in 2012 is enough to flood all of Naples in a 109 feet deep toxic lagoon.

“The numbers don’t lie— fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment,” said Jennifer Rubiello, field associate from Environment Florida. “That’s why fracking has no place near Big Cypress, our treasured natural areas, and certainly not near our drinking water supplies.”

Oil and gas companies have applied for permits for exploratory oil wells in Collier County, and permits for wastewater disposal, which environmental groups and local citizens contend would threaten drinking water and the neighboring wildlife refuge that is home to the endangered Florida Panther.

“Fracking by the Numbers” shows that deep disposal wells are a common destination for fracking waste, but these wells can fail over time, allowing the wastewater and its pollutants to mix with groundwater and surface water. For example, wastewater injected into a disposal well contaminated 6.2 billion gallons of water in an aquifer in Midland, Texas. Nationally, routine testing of injection wells in 2010 revealed that 2300 failed to meet mechanical integrity requirements established by the EPA.

The report’s data comes as the EPA considers permits for wastewater injection wells in Collier County.

“If the oil drillers are allowed to drill this reckless well, it will set a precedent that will invite more and more oil drillers into the Sunshine State,” Gharabally added. 

“The bottom line is this: the numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Rubiello. “For Big Cypress, the home of the panther, and our drinking water, we need to put a stop to fracking here before it even begins.”

“Given the extraordinary evidence, and concern from our constituents, I see no reason as to why we do not postpone any further drilling that could be detrimental to our water and ecosystem,” State Senator Dwight Bullard stated. “The time is now to ensure that we protect our precious land and vital resources.”

“Here in Florida, we can help stop the fracking frenzy before it even begins,” said Rubiello. “We urge the Environmental Protection Agency to stand up for Florida’s drinking water and special places, and reject permits that would facilitate the fracking process in the state.”

Environment Florida is a Florida-based, citizen-supported, environmental advocacy organization, working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.