Dirty energy money has flooded the Florida legislature. Over the past five years, oil and gas, utility and other affiliated energy industry political action committees (PACs) and employees gave $12.0 million to Florida state legislators and major political parties. The donations were heavily weighted to Republicans, with five times the campaign contributions going to the Republican Party and Republican legislators than the Democratic ones ($10.0 to $2.0 million, respectively).
One of the biggest political battles in Florida is over fracking, the controversial technique to extract oil and natural gas in the state’s delicate ecosystem and including limestone formations in places like the Big Cypress and the Everglades. In 2012, oil and gas companies first submitted applications to use new, unconventional fracking Florida. The next year the state cancelled the drilling permits of a company doing unapproved fracking-like drilling.
If fracking were approved in Florida, oil, natural gas and electric utility companies would be poised to reap substantial financial benefit, but communities and the environment would bear the brunt of the risky, polluting drilling technique.