A Dallas, TX oil company’s plans to perform seismic testing around the Dead Lakes north of Wewahitchka set off alarm bells in area counties and litigation in Tallahassee.
The testing, characterized as an effort to fill in the blanks in underground maps that date to the 1940s, was aimed at determining whether gas and oil reserves were sufficient to excise from the ground.
The proposal set off concerns about fracking, a high-velocity injection of water and chemicals to break underground deposits, and the Board of County Commissioners approved late in 2015 an ordinance banning fracking in the county.
Neighboring counties did the same.
A bill to establish state guidelines for fracking, meanwhile, continued to falter in the Florida Legislature.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit as 2015 turned into 2016 for the testing to begin but that action was met by a series of legal challenges that played out over two months and ultimately failed to stop the testing.
A wet winter and spring intervened, but the testing got underway in early summer and was barely noticed.
What the tests showed has not yet been publicly disclosed and the oil company has announced no plans for further exploration or even a test drill, which would require further DEP review and permitting.