Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oil Wells in Suburban Florida Pump Up Activism

The Naples area is not particularly well-known for its activism.  The area is one of the fastest growing areas of the country, built largely around a development model that attracts retirees and those fed up with the cold north to relatively inexpensive housing.  These people tend to skew conservative and would more likely be seen at a Tea Party event over a Green Party gathering.
A typical Golden Gate Estates landscape, minus the well.
Click for photo credit.

But the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome is powerful and will show up in unexpected places.  Today, I found it in suburban Naples where local suburbanites are concerned with the state's Department of Environmental Protection's permitting of oil wells within 1000 feet of someone's home.  You can read about it in this St. Petersburg Times article.  

Florida is not often considered an oil state.  It famously banned offshore drilling several years ago, even though it has considerable resources.  However, on land, Florida has some oil in particular places, especially in southwest Florida near Naples.  

The Times article is worth a read and I think it highlights the growing impact of environmental issues in the suburbs.  Take a look at this piece I wrote earlier this year about oil leaks in suburban Arkansas.  Many suburbanites moved out of cities in part to get away from the kinds of issues that some are now experiencing.

It is worth noting that the well in question is in the Golden Gate Estates area of Naples.  This is a notorious vast land development that many in the region know of due to a variety of legal issues.  It is was built on the edge of the Everglades and was largely empty for years before the population boom hit the region.  This 1992 article from the Orlando Sun Sentinel provides some context.

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