Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Senate committee reverses years of opposition and passes fracking ban
The Florida Senate reversed years of opposition to a statewide ban on oil and gas fracking and advanced a bill Tuesday that will prohibit the controversial practice in Florida.
The Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation voted unanimously to prohibit “advanced well stimulation treatment,” specifically hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing and matrix acidizing, the high pressure process that is used to inject water into rock formations to extract oil and gas.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, who reversed her opposition to a fracking ban last year, promising voters in her campaign that she would make passage of the ban a top priority.
“This has been a wonderful journey,” Young said. She held up a rock of karst limestone and said “it is fragile. it is porous. Florida is uniqe. Florida is special and we do not have to be like every other state in the nation.”
She denied that the bill is foreclosing mineral rights and is not prohibiting on traditional oil and gas exploration but is “simply foreclosing one method” that risks the state’s geology. “There may be some uncertainty but the question is are you willing to roll the dice with the future of our state…with the future of our environment.”
Exxon Mobile, the Florida Chamber, the James Madison Institute and the Florida Petroleum Council oppose the bill. Dave Mica, president of the Florida Petroleum Council, said the state consumers 27 million gallons of gasoline every day in the state, third largest amount in the country, and most of the natural gas used in the state comes from the process of hydraulic fracking. To meet energy needs, fracking must remain an option, he argued.
“We have a shared interest in our industry to protect energy resources,” he said. ”