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Oil and Gas Lobby Fumes as Lawmakers Push for Total Fracking Ban in Florida

| January 25, 2017

fracking ban

Unpopular. (Owen Crowley)

Trying to end a debate about the possibility of fracking in Florida, a bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday backed a proposed ban on the controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas.


“This bill is concise and straightforward: It bans fracking of all types in Florida,” said Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican who filed the proposal (SB 442) on Tuesday.

The bill, which will be considered during the legislative session that starts March 7, comes after heavy debate during the 2016 session about a measure that would have created a regulatory framework for fracking in the state. The House passed the measure, which died in the Senate amid widespread opposition from environmentalists who argued it could open the door to fracking.

In 2015, the Flagler County Commission passed a resolution opposing fracking. The Palm Coast City Council followed suit in 2016.

Young appeared at a news conference Tuesday with a coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa. The group did not include top House Republican leaders.

Florida Petroleum Council Executive Director David Mica released a statement that said the proposed ban is out of step with consumers who see benefits from domestic energy production.

“The United States is the leading producer of oil, natural gas and refined product in the world, and the decades-old technique of hydraulic fracturing has led to lower energy costs for consumers and improvements in the environment,” Mica said in the statement. “Sen. Dana Young’s proposed ban could undermine the benefits that Florida families and consumers are seeing today.”

Oil and natural-gas drilling has taken place in parts of Northwest Florida and Southwest Florida for decades. But the possibility that drilling could involve fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, has spurred the legislative debate — similar to debates in other parts of the country where the method has become commonly used.

The method, in part, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to create fractures in rock formations, allowing natural gas and oil to be released. While supporters say fracking increases production and holds down energy costs, opponents argue it threatens water supplies and can cause environmental damage.

During the news conference Tuesday, Young pointed to limestone formations in Florida and said fracking in the state “makes no sense.”

“Sometimes technology gets ahead of Mother Nature in a bad way,” said Sen. Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who also took part in the news conference. “I think this is an example.”

Fracking became a key issue is some legislative campaigns last year, including in Young’s race for a Hillsborough County Senate seat and in Sen. Keith Perry’s race in a North Florida district. Perry, R-Gainesville, is co-introducing Young’s proposed ban. Both served in the House last year and voted for the regulatory bill.

Young and Latvala, who helped kill the 2016 bill, said lawmakers had differences of opinion about the potential effects of last year’s measure. But the lawmakers at Tuesday’s news conference said they want to end the debate about fracking with an outright ban.

“What we do today is not for us, but for the next generation,” Perry said. “This kind of legislation that’s protecting the natural environment that we all enjoy, and need to save for future generations, should be one of our top priorities as we go forward in this session.”

But Mica said Florida shouldn’t “move backwards when the gains of energy security are important for Florida families.”

“The technology has been proven safe, and Florida is realizing the economic and environmental benefits of its use,” he said.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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22 Responses for “Oil and Gas Lobby Fumes as Lawmakers Push for Total Fracking Ban in Florida”

  1. Mark says:

    What “environmental damage” would it do? Facts please.

  2. Surgod88 says:

    Ban it!!! I would willing pay more for “energy” to avoid the negative repercussions of “fracking”. However, there is free energy to be had in the Sunshine State, solar!

  3. PCer says:

    Good. David Mica is out for only himself and his wallet. He does not care about Florida or its environment.

  4. Sherry says:

    BAN IT!

    @ Mark. . . if you even care about facts. . . please do your own research. . . it’s called Google. . . take a read:

    http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/hydrofracking_w.html

  5. snapperhead says:

    Just put some wind turbines around the White House. The blowhard occupying it now could power the whole nation. Problem solved..you’re welcome!

  6. PCer says:

    @Mark http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/hydrofracking_w.html

    I can only imagine what damage it could possibly cause to our aquifers, not to mention our bays and reefs. Please do your own research.

  7. Dave says:

    Please Ban this horrible pratice, Haven’t enough families suffered? Have enough communities been through hell? We do not need your poisonous chemicals being leaked into out aquafers, tainting our waters and killing our people, we do not need our earth’s crusts drilled, disrupting the natural order of tectonics

  8. Veteran says:

    You can pay all you want but the fact is there is nowhere near enough green energy to supply our needs.

  9. Edman says:

    Fracking injects chemicals and large quantities of water into the ground to force oil and gas out. It can pollute drinking water and produce seismic tremors like earthquakes. In Florida these issues can become more problematic since we have so much limestone that can enabler these chemicals to spread more easily and the limestone is more susceptible to collapsing and causing sinkholes. We need to develop alternative energy sources if we want to protect our environment for our children and grandchildren. The oil and gas industry has done enough harm to this world and needs to be reigned in if we want to keep our planet from further destruction.

  10. PCer says:

    @Veteran – you are WRONG. You can go completely off the grid and have all solar power in your house (and your car if you drive electric and charge up using your solar panels).

    The problem is that in Floriduh we have allowed big oil, big sugar, and big pharma to take over our lives and brainwash half the population into believing that green living, healthy living, and natural living are products of a communist plot to take over the universe. Get off of Fox news, stop being brainwashed by Steve Bannon and his media empire. Do your own research and learn for yourself.

    Oh…. and stop destroying my planet.

  11. Fred says:

    Fracking in Florida WILL cause the limestone to weaken even more then usual. Causing SINKHOLES by the millions. You people ready to loose your homes and property for a few thousand barrels of dirty oil ? Not me..

    BAN IT !!!!

  12. Sherry says:

    The Green technologies would be much better developed in the USA IF it weren’t for the Republican obstructionists who are “owned” by the fossil fuel industry! European countries are doing quite well with “renewables”, especially Sweden. . . but China is leading. . . we need to STOP destroying the environment of our planet!!!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_production_from_renewable_sources

  13. Veteran says:

    @PCer. How many people can afford to put solar panels on their house? Very few. Up north there is not sufficient sunlight. Electric cars can only travel about 200 miles on a charge. The technology is not here yet. We still need oil and natural gas and personally I would like us to be energy independent.

  14. PCer says:

    @Veteran, no we NEED to produce and sell more solar panels to bring down the price. That doesn’t happen because our Republican friends keep putting regulations in place to stop green energy and keep oil cheap. There is plenty of sunshine up north, if there wasn’t then Germany and Sweden would not be enjoying the fruits of their solar energy initiatives.

    So, since you are for fracking, how about we start under your house? You can be the first to get eaten up by a sinkhole.

  15. Sherry says:

    Energy independence can quickly and easily accomplished with clean “renewable” energy instead of fossil fuels that are destroying our environment. It’s just a matter of ALLOWING/even encouraging them to be developed.

    Fossil fuel (oil, gas) receive Billions in subsides from US tax payers!! Imagine if those Billions were put into developing cleaner, renewable energy industries instead? When solar panels are finally put into really “mass production”, we Floridians should be able to have a solar panel(s) on every roof. We could even sell the extra energy we produce to other states. BUT NO. . . our Republican government is “owned” by the oil and gas industry! Take a read:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/12/us-taxpayers-subsidising-worlds-biggest-fossil-fuel-companies

  16. Sherry says:

    Energy independence can quickly and easily accomplished with clean “renewable” energy instead of fossil fuels that are destroying our environment. It’s just a matter of ALLOWING/even encouraging them to be developed.
    Fossil fuel (oil, gas) receive Billions in subsides from US tax payers!! Imagine if those Billions were put into developing cleaner, renewable energy industries instead?

    When solar panels are finally put into genuine “mass production”, they will be much much, much less expensive. With substantial tax credits to US, instead of the Billionaire oil and gas companies, we Floridians should be able to have a solar panel(s) on every roof. We could even sell the extra energy we produce to other states. BUT NO. . . our Republican government is “owned” by the oil and gas industry!

    Take a good read:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/12/us-taxpayers-subsidising-worlds-biggest-fossil-fuel-companies

  17. Anonymous says:

    If you want to Florida to end up under water just go ahead and start Fracking . A large part of Florida is made up of lime rock. With the tremors that come with fracking, collapse of this Porus lime rock will ultimately occur and parts of Florida will go negative Sea level.

  18. Veteran says:

    Never did say I was for fracking in Florida. Doubt there is much oil or gas here. There is no way every house will be solar powered, not even close. President Trump will definitely support all companies that want to build solar panels, especially when he gets rid Obamas business killing regulations. And @PCer I’ll let them frack under my house when you let them put a giant wind turbine in your backyard.

  19. PCer says:

    I’d take a wind turbine if it means getting rid of my bill to FPL.

  20. Veteran says:

    Ever been close to one? No you wouldn’t.

  21. Sherry says:

    Why the “distraction” with wind turbines? The shiny object that pulls us away from the truth regarding the multi-Billions of taxpayer subsidies paid to the oil and gas industries!

    We are the “Sunshine” state. . . We should have solar panels on every roof! Even some of the “townships” (where the really poor people live) I saw in South Africa have solar panels and solar hot water heaters on their roofs. If they can do it, we certainly can and should!

  22. Veteran says:

    Are you blaming the oil and gas industries for the lack of solar panels? This is America. If I could afford solar panels I would buy them, and I’m not poor. Wind turbines provide more power than solar panels. I have been to Northern Europe and there are thousands of wind turbines in the water near the coastline. They ruin a beautiful area because oil is very expensive there. We are blessed with plenty of natural gas. All new power plants are gas powered. It is clean burning. I’m guessing the panels in South Africa are government subsidized.

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