Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Be Informed.

New Anti-Fracking Article by OSFR in Audubon Crane Newsletter

The Alachua chapter of Audubon, the “Audubon Crane Newsletter,”  has published a new article by OSFR  about fracking in the March/April Newsletter.

OSFR is grateful to Debra Segal and the Alachua Chapter of the Audubon Society for helping us spread the word about the increasing dangers of fracking, and the increasing possibility that it will continue in Florida.


Many people still do not know what hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” means. Fracking is the process of gas extraction effected by injecting chemicals, sand, and millions of gallons of water into underground shale to fracture it and release entrapped gas.

Fracking is not common in Florida, but it is legal and it has been done.  There are companies who are interested in doing more and our DEP almost never turns down a permit application.

Books could be written as to why fracking is harmful to the environment, but the following is a summation:

Toxic chemicals and carcinogens used in the process remain in the wastewater brought back to the surface after the shale fracturing.  Some also remain underground and may invade groundwater used for drinking water.

Millions of gallons of water are necessary to frack a well, which on average can be fracked about 20 times.   Only some of this can be reclaimed — much can not.

Methane (CH4,) a powerful greenhouse gas, leaks underground and into the atmosphere, where it is 72 times more potent than coal producing carbon dioxide.

Earthquakes and explosions often result from fracking, and permanent jobs sustained by this industry are only about one third of that of solar power.

The result of all of this is that natural gas, often claimed to be the cleanest of the fossil fuels, is turning out to be more harmful and environmentally damaging than coal.

What can we do about fracking?  First, we must inform our government officials, county commissioners and legislators who are not aware of fracking and its problems.  We need to make sure they know what the facts are, how dangerous and destructive it is, that it is never safe, that it is not necessary, and most importantly, that we do not want it here.

Of late, great progress has been made in this direction.  On the local level, Columbia and Alachua Counties are working on ordinances banning it, and Our Santa Fe River is actively presenting information to the county commissioners in the seven-county Santa Fe River basin. On a state level, Sen. Soto and Rep. Jenne have introduced Legislative bills, sponsored by other legislators, to ban fracking throughout the state.

At this moment in Florida, many of our leaders are receptive to improving and preserving our environment, and also at this moment there are a lot of hard-working people pushing in the right direction.  And you know this, since many of the readers here are among them.  Keep up the good work.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson is president of OSFR, and Jim Tatum is its historian.

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