'Fracking' Ban Proposal Likely Dead With 1 Week Left In Fla. Legislative Session

Apr 26, 2019

A proposal backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to ban “fracking” in Florida appears dead for this legislative session.

Sen. Ben Albritton, a Wauchula Republican who sponsored a fracking-ban bill (SB 7064), said Thursday evening he doesn’t think the measure has much of a chance of passing with just more than a week remaining in the 60-day session.

“My hopes were much higher,” Albritton said after a Senate floor session. “I intend to file another bill next year.”

The controversial proposal to ban “hydraulic fracturing,” or fracking, cleared two Senate committees but was not taken up by two other panels. The House version (HB 7029) to ban the controversial oil- and gas-drilling technique also did not make it through all of its assigned committees.

The measures drew fire from environmentalists for not also banning a drilling technique called “matrix acidizing,” which uses many of the same chemicals as hydraulic fracturing but dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid.

Opponents argue fracking threatens Florida’s already-stressed water supplies, can impact agricultural production and can cause environmental damage. But many opponents said they wouldn’t sign on to any proposal that doesn’t address “all forms of fracking.”

The ban was pushed this year by DeSantis, who in January released a list of environmental proposals that included opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

But supporters of the technique, such as the Florida Petroleum Council, say fracking increases production and holds down energy costs.