Bipartisan group of FL senators stall pro-fracking bill, but it could return

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Rachel Richardson

Environment America

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Yesterday a bipartisan group of state senators beat back a measure to advance fracking in the state of Florida, voting down Senate Bill 318 10 to 9 in the Appropriations Committee. Florida Senate rules allow the bill to be reconsidered, however, and the bill could be voted on again as soon as next Tuesday.
“SB 318 would pave the way for dangerous fracking in our state, putting the drinking water for 90 percent of Floridians and the Everglades in jeopardy,” said Jennifer Rubiello, Environment Florida director. “Yesterday Floridians spoke up for their water, and a bipartisan coalition of senators listened. We hope they’ll continue to stand up against dirty drilling in Florida.”
The bill would pave the way for hydraulic fracturing as well as “matrix acidizing,” the type of fracking mostly likely to occur in Florida, in which acid is pumped into wells to dissolve limestone to stimulate the flow of oil and gas. Both methods of fracking pose inherent risks to water quality and public health.

SB 318 also preempts local governments and nullifies existing ordinances banning fracking.
“This is just the latest attempt by the oil and gas industry to strip communities of their ability to protect their water and their safety,” said Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling Program. “And we were glad to see it stalled by a bipartisan group of senators in Florida.”
The measure has drawn widespread opposition from citizens, more than 80 counties and cities, environmental groups, labor groups, and even a class of fifth graders who testified yesterday in committee.
The bill’s counterpart, HB 191, already passed out of the Florida House. If SB 318 manages to clear the Senate without changes in the remaining two weeks of the legislative session, Gov. Rick Scott is sure to sign it into law.
“Fracking has been a rolling environmental disaster across the country. It needs to be banned altogether, and it has no place in the state of Florida,” said Rubiello. “We’ll continue to work with our allies to defeat this reckless bill until the session’s bitter end.”