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Texas oil drilling company files response to DEP lawsuit

[JURIST] Texas oil drilling company Dan A. Hughes Co. submitted legal responses Wednesday in response to a lawsuit, revoking their drilling permits [notice of revocation, PDF] in Collier County, commenced [press release] by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) [official website]. The drilling company filed two motions in the Collier County Circuit Court [official website] to dismiss the July 18 lawsuit [complaint, PDF] and to stay the court case pending the resolution of the petitions. The DEP said the operations could be construed as a form of fracking. The company to agree to a self-imposed moratorium on all such operations until the end of 2014.

Hydraulic fracturing [JURIST backgrounder] is a highly debated topic in regions where recent Marcellus shale gas developments have been associated with toxic water pollution. The New York State Assembly [official website] in 2013 approved a two-year ban [JURIST report] on fracking. The measure postponed any potential fracking until May 15, 2015, by which time a "comprehensive health impact assessment" can be conducted to identify potential public health impacts that may result from the process. The ban represents a continuation of a previous ban on fracking that has been in place in the state since 2008. Also in 2013 JURIST guest columnist Nicolas Parke debunked rumors [JURIST op-ed] around fracking. Earlier that year JURIST guest columnist Samantha Peaslee detailed the future of fracking [JURIST op-ed] in Colorado in the wake of recent lawsuits against fracking companies in the state. In 2012 Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Vermont, New Jersey, New York and the Environmental Protection Agency [JURIST reports] all took regulatory, legislative and judicial steps towards restricting hydraulic fracturing for fear of environmental and public health concerns.

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