Floridians Seek to Ban Fracking; Effort Called Misguided

Hundreds of Floridians gathered together in the state capitol to urge elected officials to pass a fracking ban, commit to increasing renewable energy sources and protect waterways.

The group, including elected officials, members of ReThink Energy Florida, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club, Environment Florida, Floridians Against Fracking, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Organize Florida, Florida Conservation Voters, and others cited more than 900 health studies for why fracking has no place in the Sunshine State.

“Banning fracking in Florida is one of the best things we can do to protect our treasured waterways, public health and economy,” said State Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater). “I stand with the 90 cities and counties in Florida that have passed ordinances or resolutions calling on us, the State Legislature, to pass this important legislation.”

Nationwide opposition to hydraulic fracturing has escalated dramatically over the past year. But not everyone agrees with it.

“Florida legislators proposing a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Sunshine State have either failed to do their homework when considering the ban, or are willingly ignoring the overwhelming evidence demonstrating fracking is a safe and proven technology when properly regulated,” said Isaac Orr, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.

“Claims that fracking negatively impact human health are not supported by a growing body of scientific evidence,” Orr said. “A recent report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment took more than 10,000 air samples near oil and gas operations and found levels of potentially hazardous chemicals were all within federal safety guidelines. The CDPHE study also condemned other studies attempting to link fracking with health effects as misleading.

“Additionally, Florida generates nearly two-thirds of its electricity from natural gas, which is delivered from states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states that have embraced hydraulic fracturing and have impeccable safety records,” Orr concluded. “In contrast, renewable energy generates just 2 percent of electricity, and most of this electricity comes from biomass and hydroelectric. Even in the Sunshine State solar remains more expensive and less reliable than natural gas or coal. As such, gimmicks to shut down gas and coal-fired power plants are purely PR stunts, not solutions.”

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