Home Editor's Picks Florida Republicans Lead Fight to Ban Fracking Statewide

Florida Republicans Lead Fight to Ban Fracking Statewide

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Watch out, corporate Democrats—Republicans are coming after your environmentally-conscious voters. Republican lawmakers in Florida are currently leading the fight to ban fracking statewide.

That’s right—Republicans, who have historically denied that climate change is caused by human activity, just upstaged Democrats (like Hillary Clinton) who refuse to run on an anti-fracking platform. Democrats are far from the champions they claim to be on environmental issues, but liberals typically expect a bit more from them, simply because they acknowledge climate change exists.

State Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, introduced a bill that would ban fracking in the state of Florida, with support on both sides of the aisle. “This bill is concise and straightforward: it bans fracking of all types in Florida”, said State Sen. Young.

Young’s bill, which will be considered during the current legislative session that started March 7, “prohibit[s] the performance of advanced well stimulation treatments”, and states that well operation and other drilling permits are not to be used for fracking purposes. On the first day of the current session, members of the committee advanced the bill, but it has two more steps before facing the full Senate.

It is worth noting that Young recently had a change of heart on her fracking stance. During a 2016 legislative session, a bill was introduced that could have paved the way for fracking in the state. As a state representative last year, Young voted for that bill. The bill passed the State House but died in the Senate, thanks to pressure from environmentalists, who “flooded” legislative committee rooms in Tallahassee. Young said her stance changed after meeting with stakeholders and “exhausting hours of research and soul-searching.”

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The sponsor of last year’s failed bill, Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, is now the State House majority leader. So, just in case Young’s bill does not pass, a similar bill was introduced to the State House by another Republican, Rep. Mike Miller, representing the Orlando area. He is one of nine total Republicans supporting the bill, and it also has the support of several Democrats.

Fracking opponents were in Tallahassee again this Wednesday, but this time, they were attending a rally showing support for Young’s bill. Young spoke at the rally, along with one of the Republicans backing the bill, State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater.

Two Democrats from Southern Florida, State Sen. Gary Farmer and State Rep. Evan Jenne, both publicly support Young’s efforts to ban fracking. Farmer filed a Senate bill and proposed a constitutional amendment to ban fracking. Jenne has proposed bills to ban fracking in each legislative session since 2015, including this year, but his previously proposed bills never received hearings.

“I want to keep as many options available in case we have problems” with Young’s bill, Jenne said.

According to a report by Floridians Against Fracking, 90 communities have introduced measures seeking to ban fracking practices. In Southern Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties banned fracking last year. Palm Beach County also publicly supports a statewide ban.

Oil and natural-gas drilling has taken place in parts of Florida for decades, but we do not have any current fracking practices. Floridians live on top of our water supply, and when it runs dry, our homes (and Porsche dealerships) get swallowed in our infamous sinkholes. Our aquifer is made of porous limestone, and is thought to be especially vulnerable to chemical leaks.

Bipartisan support of this bill shows that conservative Floridians are becoming as environmentally conscious as their liberal neighbors. This is a trend that needs to continue nationwide, for the sake of our planet, and for the benefit of our wallets.

Vermont and New York are currently the only states with complete fracking bans, but lawmakers in Maryland and Nevada are considering bans on fracking this year.

Corporate Democrats should take notice of the popularity of this bipartisan bill, as midterm elections will be here before we know it. Progressives will not only run on anti-fracking platforms, but will also publicly refuse to take campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry—and they’ll win by doing so.

Edited by Lydia McMullen-Laird 

1 COMMENT

  1. The very first thing that I heard about the pending TTIP trade deal was that it was going to be used to vastly increase fracking and drilling for export, and that it would make it next to impossible to sue the big companies in the sake of disasters (“if they structured their subcontracting right” Also it was represented in this radio show as supposed to make the energy export basically irreversible (using #ISDS) and ban local state fracking bans. “Forever” Arrgh.. Here are some links on this madness.

    New report: “No fracking way”
    How the EU-US trade deal risks expanding fracking in Europe and the US
    http://www.foeeurope.org/no-fracking-way-060314

    A trade deal between the EU and the US risks opening the backdoor for the expansion of fracking in Europe and the US, reveals a new report released today [1]. As part of the deal currently being negotiated, energy companies could be allowed to take governments to private arbitrators if they attempt to regulate or ban fracking and the dangerous exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels. Campaigners are urging the EU not to include such rights in trade deals.

    The fourth round of trade negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US takes place next week in Brussels (March 10-14). If agreed, a clause in the deal, known as the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ mechanism (ISDS), could give special rights to companies to claim damages in private investor friendly arbitrators if they deem their investments (including future profits) are adversely affected by changes in regulation or policy.

    Such a clause would make it much harder for countries to ban or impose strong regulations on fracking for shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels, for fear of having to pay millions in compensation. This would be regardless of the evidence of the environmental harm caused by fracking, and of the opposition by local residents and other citizens. More broadly, the ISDS clause would likely thwart governments’ efforts to address global warming and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the report states.

    Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Giving companies more rights as part of the EU-US trade deal would undermine Europe’s growing resistance to fracking. Energy companies must not be given the power to challenge democratically agreed laws that safeguard the environment and citizen health. Put simply, this puts profits before people, democracy and the planet.”

    Many European member states are currently assessing the environmental and public health risks of shale gas, and other unconventional gas and oil. Widespread community resistance on both sides of the Atlantic has led to many countries and regions placing moratoria, bans, or strong environmental regulations on fracking [2].
    ——–

    Next-
    Sierra Club analysis of the EU “Non paper” about TTIP and shale gas production and ISDS.

    Must read ! (Concern- I worry how much the exporting of natural gas- the main goal of all these pipelines- will also raise the cost of natural gas here by some unknown amount, possibly a lot- (because it fetches 3 to 5 times more in Asia than here) lets not forget many homes only heat by natural gas so if the price doubles, many are in a difficult position.. Big East Coast and midwest cities have huge amounts of postwar rental housing that could be endangered by large increases in heating costs. Its hard to say. Electricity prices in Australia went up a lot in a similar situation, but they are closer to Asia were a lot of the natural gas was destined to be bought. The US could also lose a lot of jobs because some businesses locate here specifically for cheaper energy.. if we lose that we’ll lose a significant number of jobs. Also there is a risk of persistent energy poverty, like in Europe, many people are perpetually in debt for heat. Its going to get worse as many jobs are being lost to automation.

    Link to the report: http://web.archive.org/web/20150720024006/http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/Analysis_of_EU_Energy_Proposal_for_TTIP-Final_-_Sierra_C.pdf?docID=15781

    This is also informative- A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas – Howarth 2014.pdf http://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/connecticut-chapter/Howarth%202014.pdf

    lock the gate- fracking and the TPP
    http://works.bepress.com/matthew_rimmer/235/download/

    Fracking and infant health
    http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10089/

    Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development
    http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1307866/

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