Clean water and public health advocates delivered a letter to Governor DeSantis thanking him for supporting a ban on fracking as part of his comprehensive Executive Order 19-12 to protect Florida’s water. Members of Floridians Against Fracking, however, called on the Governor to use his authority to ensure that all forms of fracking are banned. A new House bill scheduled for hearing next week, they say, will not ban Florida’s likeliest form of fracking, commonly called matrix acidizing, that uses toxic chemicals to dissolve rock formations instead of fracturing them.
News broke yesterday that a company that wants to drill near a heavily populated area in Broward in the Everglades, cleared a major hurdle to begin oil exploration. Advocates fear the aquifer is most threatened by acid fracking and matrix acidizing if the techniques are not banned statewide.
“Several oil drilling permits are pending around the state, including a permit that could easily introduce matrix acidizing near Broward and Miami-Dade municipal water wells that provide drinking water for millions of South Florida residents.”, said Michelle Allen of Food & Water Watch. “If all forms of fracking are not banned statewide, any oil well in the state could be a potential nightmare because of a dreadful loophole in the law. We hope Governor DeSantis will act immediately to correct others’ mistake in implementing his order to protect our water.”
The letter, signed by over 50 groups, respectfully asks the Governor to direct Department of Environmental Protection legislative staff to advocate for passage of a bill to ban all forms of fracking including hydraulic fracturing, acid fracking, and matrix acidization.
“The definition that has been used in several years of bipartisan bills, including Senate Bill 146 and House Bill 239 this session, is the definition that should be used to enact the final law as intended by the governor’s executive order”, said Jennifer Rubiello of Environment Florida. “We need to get this right and close any loopholes that could allow any fracking in Florida. The health of our people, tourism-based economy, and our remarkable network of waterways is on the line. We applaud Governor DeSantis’ leadership on this issue and we are counting on him to see it through.”
At the AP Legislative Preview last week, Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva said they will support hearings and votes on ban fracking legislation in their chambers. Speaker Oliva even said he personally would vote in support of banning fracking. The groups say they look forward to working with Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva to pass clean legislation that will ban all forms of fracking.
Late Wednesday, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee filed a committee bill that prohibits only one type of fracking. It is scheduled for hearing next week. As currently drafted, the bill does not go far enough to protect Floridians from the risks associated with fracking as it would allow matrix acidization in Florida.
“The Governor and leadership in the House and Senate both say that the environment and the Everglades are a priority – we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Everglades restoration – yet the danger of fracking remains a threat until all forms of fracking are banned,” said Kim Ross of ReThink Energy Florida. “So, we’re calling on the Governor to follow through – let’s get this done and ban all forms of fracking, including matrix acidizing.”