The Economics of Oil Development in the Everglades: Bad Business, Huge Risks

Both current onshore oil production and the prospects for future oil expansion in Florida are minimal. Yet efforts continue to develop small amounts of oil and gas, at the expense of Florida’s sensitive natural resources, including the Everglades. Expanded onshore oil exploration and drilling would cause irreparable harm to Florida’s natural resources, public lands, wildlife, and water supplies, and jeopardize the state’s leading industry, tourism. While Florida has not yet banned well stimulation techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) and acidizing, proposed legislation to ban such practices has been introduced.

Meanwhile, over half of Florida’s counties and several municipalities have already passed ordinances or resolutions opposing or prohibiting fracking or acidizing wells within their borders, citing concerns about declining water supply from ground water sources, water pollution, and adverse impacts to wildlife and fisheries. The small size of Florida’s oil industry means that there would be very little economic harm caused by imposing a statewide legislative ban on fracking or acidizing, which could help to prevent harmful environmental damage.

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