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Fracking Ban Bill Moves In Florida Senate, Stalls in House

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons

Despite early indications that a proposal to ban fracking in Florida would not advance in the current state legislative session, the bill passed its first senate committee Monday.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Dana Young of Tampa, unanimously passed the Senate Environmental and Preservation Committee. It calls for an outright ban on fracking or “hydraulic fracturing” and other “fracking-like” techniques that involve breaking up underground rock formations by blasting them with high-pressure water, acid and other chemicals to extract oil and gas.

An identical bill stalled during last year’s state legislative session over concerns that there has been no Florida-specific study documenting the risks of fracking in the state’s unique limestone geology.

Senior Environmental Policy Specialist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Amber Crooks says the dangers of fracking are clear, and that they aren’t worth the risks to human health, the environment and to Florida’s economy.

“We need to take a look at the studies that are available and similar to what we have done for offshore drilling,” said Crooks.  “We as Floridians, need to determine what level of risk, given our economy, which is based on real estate and ecotourism that we’re willing to accept in Florida.”

Crooks pointed to the 90 municipalities that have already passed an ordinance or resolution on fracking.

Monday’s senate committee vote on the bill comes less than a week after hundreds of Floridians converged on Tallahassee to rally support for the bill.

Its House companion, sponsored by Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters, has yet to be voted on by any House committee.

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