Florida fracking ban passes Senate Committee, needs to move in House 2018-02-07

One of our goals Wednesday in Tallahassee was accomplished: the fracking ban is moving in the Florida statehouse! You can help: call your Florida state Representative or Senator and ask them to vote for the fracking bills. If you don’t know who they are, you can use Florida’s Find Your Legislators.

Gale Dickert, ban fracking, Sen. Montfords office
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Tallahassee, 2018-01-31. Do Gale Dickert and these people look like they’re going to give up easily?

Monday SB 462 was uananimously approved by the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, thank you Committee Chair Senator Rob Bradley, whom many people intensively lobbied last Wednesday to schedule a vote in that committee. The indefatigable Jim Tatum, Our Santa Fe River, February 5, 2018, Sweet Victory In Tally, Thank You Sen. Bradley!

Photo: Jim Tatum, of Florida Senate Committee hearing on SB 462

Tuesday the bill went to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, Broward County passed a local ban on fracking.

SB 462 is not a tepid “regulation” bill such as may be popular in other states. SB 462’s principal sponsor, Senator Dana Young, put out a press release Monday pointing out the bill “seeks to ban all types of fracking in the State of Florida, including hydraulic fracking, acid fracking and matrix-acidizing.”

Jim Turner, News Service of Florida, Florida fracking ban moving in Senate, going nowhere in House,

But in voting for the measure, Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, cautioned that some compromise may be needed to get the House to act. Simmons suggested a moratorium of two to five years on the practice, which is currently allowed in Florida, to provide time to delve into potential impacts.

“Never be afraid of the truth,” Simmons said after the meeting. “Make sure you get an independent analysis and permit everyone to show if there is a legitimate issue that exists.”

Bill sponsor Dana Young, R-Tampa, said after the meeting she didn’t see a need to conduct another study when “adverse” impacts have been reported in other states, that include “groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, low birth-weight babies, health impacts on lungs and heart.”

“We have an absolute right under our state police power to ban this practice before it ever starts,” Young said. “The time is now to do this. Let’s don’t wait until, as Sen. Simmons said, companies do start fracking and then you’ve got existing uses and you’ve got permits in place. We don’t want that. We want to stop it now before it can start.”

Meanwhile, HB 237 has not yet been heard in any committee. Please call your Florida state Representative today.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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