Florida Fracking Ban Advances Amid Concerns; Broxson Says Ban Could Impact The Industry

March 12, 2019

A move to ban “fracking” in Florida advanced Monday in the Senate with some oil-drilling protections for the Everglades, but not more comprehensive language sought by environmentalists.

The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 3-2 along party lines to approve a measure (SPB 7064) by Chairman Ben Albritton that would meet Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting large volumes of fluids into rock formations at a “high rate” of pressure to help release natural gas and oil.

Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican who voted for the proposal, expressed concern that the ban could impact the industry. Broxson noted that while the fracking technique has not been employed in the state, Florida has long had oil drilling in parts of the Panhandle and Southwest Florida.

“Florida has very limited resources as far as what is in the ground,” Broxson said. “What we’ve done is safe and responsible. And let’s don’t do anything to interrupt what we’ve done right for the last 60 years.”

While adamantly opposed to fracking, environmentalists have opposed Albritton’s bill because it doesn’t address a technique called “matrix acidizing.”

The acidizing technique utilizes many of the same chemicals as used in hydraulic fracking, but it dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid.

Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, said by not prohibiting the acidizing technique, as well as hydraulic fracturing, the proposal continues to be a “risky proposition” for the state’s fragile ecosystem.

“I don’t understand why we are taking chances, Oklahoma has, as we heard last week, has fracking going on and for the first time in their history they’ve got 2,000 earthquakes between the years 2015 and 2017,” Rader said. “I know there is a little bit of debate that it is due to fracking or not, but the majority of the debate believes that it is.”

Before voting, the committee made a change proposed by Albritton, R-Wauchula, that would impose additional state Department of Environmental Protection reviews on oil exploration within the Everglades Protection Area, along with increasing permitting costs and penalties.

Albritton’s amendment came after the 1st District Court of Appeal last month ruled that a Broward County landowner should receive a permit for exploratory drilling on about five acres of land in the Everglades. DeSantis’ administration, Broward County and the city of Miramar are asking for a rehearing in the appeals court.

Albritton said his proposal wouldn’t prohibit the drilling permits.

“At the end of the day, the courts have ruled that they can drill there, it really doesn’t leave us with very many options,” Albritton said. “My goal with this amendment was to provide for additional cost and safety measures, if they so choose to expand the drilling in that area.”

Proposals to ban fracking have repeatedly emerged in recent years but have not passed. Groups such as the Florida Petroleum Council have opposed the proposals, contending that fracking is safe, can boost production and help hold down energy costs for consumers.

But Albritton’s proposed ban gained traction this year after DeSantis in January released a list of environmental proposals that included opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

Opponents of Albritton’s proposal, many of whom contend they will remain opposed to the current bill if it doesn’t address “all forms of fracking,” argue fracking threatens Florida’s already-stressed water supplies, can impact agricultural production and can cause environmental damage.

David Cullen, a lobbyist for Sierra Club Florida, said even the Everglades amendment includes loopholes, noting a prohibition on access corridors and drilling pads through sensitive areas would continue to allow such uses when “reasonable and prudent alternatives are not available.”

“In other words, we get to do whatever we want to do in the Everglades, one way or another,” Cullen said of oil companies.

Albritton’s proposal is similar to a House bill (HB 7029) that has started moving forward. Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, has proposed a bill (SB 314) that would ban hydraulic fracturing and matrix acidizing.”

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Comments

10 Responses to “Florida Fracking Ban Advances Amid Concerns; Broxson Says Ban Could Impact The Industry”

  1. FaithinUs on March 14th, 2019 9:09 pm

    Seriously, Mr. Broxson is worried about the oil industry?!?!
    What about the aquifer that supplies our drinking water? or the possibility of massive sinkholes caused by fracking? There’s already a huge risk of those without high-pressure pumping of millions of gallons of undisclosed chemicals into the ground in the pursuit of dirty oil.
    Misplaced priorities for sure. Gotta be a big campaign payoff coming for Broxson after this one,

  2. G on March 13th, 2019 7:03 pm

    Democrats aka communists, want to keep the middle class down, and take your right to defend yourself away. So when they take over we can’t fight back.

  3. jp on March 12th, 2019 11:26 pm

    Opinions do not nessarly have any relation to the truth.
    We all need to understand what we know and what we feel may very well be different.

    It is unlikely that many people understand the complexities of the oil and gas industry, especially among congressmen.
    That is why I asked a friend that owns shallow oil wells in NM, not deep wells, and not subject to fracking. This person is second generation in the industry and probably knows more than most of us.

    His thoughts:
    When fracking is done 10,000 feet and greater below the surface there is little or no chance of pollution of the ground water. As far as the earthquake issue in Oklahoma it could also be due to salt water injection back into the formation. Strange that only OK is experiencing earthquakes when much more drilling and fracking is done in the Permian basin of west Texas and eastern NM and they, to date, have not experienced earthquakes??

  4. David Huie Green on March 12th, 2019 10:55 am

    REGARDING:
    “The acidizing technique utilizes many of the same chemicals as used in hydraulic fracking, but it dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid.”

    Many of the same chemicals?

    Water? Yes. Natural guar, no. Silica (sand)? No.
    Acids, yes although not in hydraulic fracturing. (Your stomach and pickles have acids.) Millions of gallons? No.

    That’s somewhat similar to saying your car has many of the same components as an H-bomb. True, but meaningless.

    We have people who use petrochemicals daily but resent the fact that the people who produce them actually get money for providing them. A culture of envy and covetousness.

    David for truth

  5. Tom on March 12th, 2019 10:37 am

    Must be Democrats, read about the new green deal, got to get rid of all the cows and combustion engines. Cows fart cause cancer? OMG, where we headed!

  6. Tom on March 12th, 2019 10:31 am

    (This quote pretty much sums it up, Use some common sense people, What else could be causing earthquakes. Please tell me your opinions) “I don’t understand why we are taking chances, Oklahoma has, as we heard last week, has fracking going on and for the first time in their history they’ve got 2,000 earthquakes between the years 2015 and 2017,” Rader said. “I know there is a little bit of debate that it is due to fracking or not, but the majority of the debate believes that it is.”

  7. jp on March 12th, 2019 8:37 am

    So called environmentalist, and climate control proponents have a very loud voice that politicians hear with the goal to not offend any voter regardless of merit.

    Methods of extracting fossile fuels are constantly getting better and it is a short sided policy to outright ban fracking.
    There is no credible proof that fracking causes any contamination.
    It is one thing to put a temporary stop on something and another to put a permanent stop on it.
    Never! Really!

    The largest causes of pollution have been over population. ditching and building in wetlands, and farming practices draining into waterways.
    Lake Apopka muck farms and sugar farming in South FL are two good examples.

    The hysteria about pipelines disregarding all the spillage from train wrecks another example of misguided opinion.

    The sky is falling, The sky is falling!

  8. Tom on March 12th, 2019 7:49 am

    What’s next, stop water jetting piling and driving piles into the ground?

  9. Sally on March 12th, 2019 6:48 am

    Enviromentalist do not quiet know the fracing process.

  10. Century on March 12th, 2019 1:30 am

    So they just go over the state line in Flomaton and cause earthquakes and run gas lines into Florida.





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