Fracking Ban Is a Good Start

ban-fracking

Florida’s karst geology makes it particularly prone to the dangers of fracking. There is no reason to risk poisoning the aquifer that supplies our drinking water and feeds our region’s natural springs.

Ban fracking bills are in the works and are cause for optimism for the 2017 Legislative session.  Hats off to the Gainesville Sun and Nathan Crabbe for his excellent editorial promoting our aquifer’s protection.  And, of course, to Keith Perry and the other law-makers for their support for this important issue.

Go to this link for the complete editorial in today”s Sun.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-


EDITORIAL

Fracking ban is a good start

A bipartisan bill to ban fracking in Florida deserves support, but lawmakers need to take the ongoing threats to our state’s groundwater just as seriously as potential ones.

Last week, five state senators introduced a measure to ban fracking and other risky oil and gas extraction methods. The backing of both Democrats and Republicans — including Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville — is a welcome development that hopefully leads to lawmakers continuing to work across the aisle on what should really be a nonpartisan issue.

Perry previously served in the Florida House and was elected to the Senate after a campaign that featured fracking as a central issue. He received criticism in the campaign for voting for a bill last year that would have put just a temporary moratorium on fracking, so he gets credit for listening to concerns and now supporting an outright ban.

The newly introduced measure, SB 442, which would put an outright ban on fracking and other “advancement well stimulation” methods. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves forcing a mixture of water, chemicals and sand into the ground at high pressure to extract oil or gas. The chemicals used in the process have been linked to cancer and other serious health problems.

Florida’s karst geology makes it particularly prone to the dangers of fracking. There is no reason to risk poisoning the aquifer that supplies our drinking water and feeds our region’s natural springs.

State lawmakers had a chance to do something about the problem with a massive water bill passed last year. Instead, they allowed agricultural polluters to continue to follow voluntary best management practices that have been unsuccessful in reversing the damage done to springs and other water resources.

Certainly other pollution sources such as septic tanks and fertilized lawns share blame for water pollution. State lawmakers need to do more to address these threats as well as excessive groundwater pumping, instead of allowing an even bigger crisis to happen.

Amendment 1, the conservation initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014, should be funding the land acquisition need to protect environmentally sensitive areas. Lawmakers must ensure the money is dedicated to that purpose this session and not paying for salaries and other ordinary agency expenses, as has been done in the past.

A fracking ban is a step in the right direction, stopping the practice before it really gets started in our state. Lawmakers should pass to ban while also working to address the threats to our groundwater that aren’t so theoretical. — This editorial was written by Gainesville Sun opinion editor Nathan Crabbe and represents the opinion of The Sun’s editorial board.

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