Pinellas County likely to be first in Tampa Bay to ban fracking

Media Contacts
Jennifer Rubiello

Environment Florida

CLEARWATER, Fla.–The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners will cast the final vote, following public comment, for a countywide ordinance banning fracking today. If the ordinance passes, Pinellas County will join 10 other Florida counties in passing legally binding ordinances banning fracking.

“From contaminated water, to marred landscapes, to increased global warming pollution, fracking has been an environmental disaster,” said Jennifer Rubiello, state director with Environment Florida. “The best way to protect our health and climate from this dirty drilling is to ban it altogether, and keep fossil fuels–both offshore and on land–safely in the ground.” 

Residents and community groups from throughout the county will make statements supporting the fracking ban, citing public health, environmental, and economic concerns.

 “Fracking is harmful to human health and safety,” said Marybeth Dunn, board secretary for the Florida Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Air emissions including volatile organic compounds threaten the health of workers and residents in the immediate vicinity. Diesel pollution and noise pollution can be constant, as truck traffic is intensive and fracking continues 24-7. Methane leaks also accelerate climate change and sea level rise.”

“The science is clear: fracking contaminates drinking water. From accidental surface spills to leaky wells, study after study has shown the many ways that fracking pollutes our water supplies with dangerous levels of toxins, like arsenic,” said Michelle Allen, Florida Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Everyone deserves the right to clean drinking water and the only way to protect that right from the dangers of fracking is by simply banning it–here in Pinellas County and statewide.”

“Fracking threatens to destroy Florida’s remarkable biodiversity” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have species that have evolved over millennia from captivating panthers to cryptic snakes, yet fracking and other non-renewable energy sources could wipe these creatures off the face of the planet.”

As opposition to fracking in Florida mounts, Pinellas County would be the first in the Tampa Bay region to pass a legally-binding ordinance banning fracking. To date, over a dozen cities and counties in Florida have passed ordinances, in addition to over 80 resolutions. 

“Pinellas County Commissioners are wisely leading this community to protect our precious water resources by banning fracking,” said Susan Glickman, Florida director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “This sends a strong signal that Florida needs clean energy to power our lives without sacrificing our natural environment.”