SARASOTA, FL -- On Wednesday, local elected, faith leaders, youth climate advocates, and dozens of residents came together to rally in Sarasota and call on Governor Ron DeSantis to clarify his commitment to banning fracking in the state. Rally speakers warned that the bills to ban fracking moving through the state legislature (House Bill 7029 and Senate Bill 7068) leave open a loophole to frack by excluding a form of fracking called matrix acidizing.
“Governor DeSantis said earlier this week that he will ‘raise Cain’ if the Trump Administration proposes oil drilling off our coasts. We need him to fight fracking with the same tenacity by ensuring all forms of fracking are banned this session,” said Brooke Errett, Florida organizer with Food & Water Watch and member of the Floridians Against Fracking Coalition. “He has two and a half weeks to keep his promise. We are counting on him.”
While on the campaign trail, Governor DeSantis voiced support for banning fracking in the state and in January issued an executive order directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to ‘adamantly oppose hydraulic fracturing’.
“As a person of faith, I know fracking does not belong in this world or bring us any good when it comes to the health of our people and the environment. We have an obligation to protect the resources we were given and to put an end to immoral practices with profit as a bottom line,” said Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, Presbyterian Pastor, GreenFaith Florida coordinator. “ The bottom line should be humanity, and our elected officials should be pushing forward policies that will protect our standard of living, not diminish it.”
Speakers explained that the legislation to implement the Governor’s Executive Order leaves open a loophole to allow the oil and gas industry to frack using matrix acidizing, a form of fracking that injects chemicals into a well to dissolve rock and allow more oil or gas to escape.
“Governor DeSantis: please think about my future, your kids’ future, and the future of their children. We will be the ones who have to face the devastation of this the most,” said youth climate activist Joshua Wilson. “This threat isn’t a matter for politics and shouldn’t be a matter for debate. This is about life or death. Doing what’s right or turning your back on the world.”
90 cities and counties across the state passed measures against fracking and over 240 business owners, over 120 local elected officials, have signed a letter in support of banning fracking statewide. Support for banning fracking statewide has been mounting for years, and rally organizers hope the state legislature will amend HB 7029 and Senate Bill 7068 to ban all forms of fracking, including matrix acidizing. All forms of fracking are currently legal in Florida.
“Banning fracking is giving our mind, body, soul and earth a chance to heal,” said Fredd Atkins, Sarasota former mayor and community leader.
The rally in Sarasota was part of a statewide day of action with the Floridians Against Fracking Coalition. Several other rallies and events were held in Hialeah, Pensacola, Spring Hill, Land O’Lakes, Oakland Park, Port St Lucie, and Tallahassee.
Livestream of the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1196973107132084/permalink/1203149819847746/
Photos included here open for use with accreditation to PHOTO © FOOD & WATER WATCH / FOODANDWATERWATCH.ORG: https://www.facebook.com/pg/FWWFlorida/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1941584549298050