The environmental threat of fracking has been looming over Florida for some time now, especially after the big utilities have tried to squash solar energy at every turn.
But Florida Rep. Evan Jenne is looking to keep the practice of fracking out of the state by introducing a bill that argues the public health risks and environmental catastrophes that would be caused by fracking.
The bill, introduced on Monday, will look to outright prohibit "well stimulation treatments for exploration or production of oil or natural gas."
Just last month, Florida Power & Light asked the Public Service Commission permission to form a partnership with PetroQuest, an Oklahoma fracking company, to tap existing natural gas wells. For customers, this would likely mean a hike in bills, while the company would pocket a healthy percentage of the profit made from getting into the fracking business.
But Jenne points out that fracking is a serious hazard to the environment. The bill says that the practice contributes to climate change due to methane leaks from the wells that have been tapped. Scientists have said that methane overwhelms any progress made by using low-carbon natural gas.
Fracking also requires large amounts of water, which would be bad for the Everglades and the state's overall water supply as a whole.
The environmental watchdog group Food & Water Watch released a statement applauding Jenne's bill, saying that, if passed, it would protect Florida and its citizens from the dangers associated with drilling and fracking.
"Coming on the heels of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban fracking in New York that was based on New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker's assessment that fracking is inherently unsafe, Floridians are asking their legislators to exhibit the same level of concern for the health and safety of Floridians," said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "We commend these efforts to stand up to the oil and gas industry by protecting the state's residents and environment."
Jenne's bill is not the first to be introduced in Florida. The senators Hauter referenced, Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard, introduced a fracking ban bill of their own in December.
It's a fight that has been ongoing for some time. One antifracking and drilling bill that would have required gas companies to disclose the chemicals they used in fracking was shot down in a subcommittee in 2014.
The State of New York recently banned fracking based on an extensive study by the Department of Health that revealed the serious risks with the practice.
"We urge our elected officials to follow New York's lead and to protect all Florida families by banning tracking," Hauter said in her statement.
You can read Jenne's proposed bill below:
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