Tallahassee, FL -- Today, in a step towards defending Florida’s water, the Senate Environmental and Natural Resources Committee unanimously moved forward the upcoming session’s first fracking ban legislation, sponsored by Committee Chair Senator Bill Montford. Dozens of advocates and community members attended the committee hearing, and more than thirty people spoke in support of the fracking ban.
“We’re thrilled to see fracking ban legislation take this first important step by moving forward from this committee,” says Michelle Allen, Food & Water Action/Food & Water Watch Florida State Director, who was present at today’s hearing. “Florida is lucky in that we have broad-reaching bipartisan support for a fracking ban, which is vital if we want to protect Florida’s water and precious natural resources for generations to come. We know that we need champions from both sides of the aisle to come forward in order to make the fracking ban a reality, and we want to work with legislators to find the most effective bill language to ensure Florida is protected from fracking. Governor Ron DeSantis promised to work with the legislature to ban fracking on day one of his governorship, and he’s yet to follow through. But 2020 is our year.”
This year’s statewide fracking ban legislation is now on its way to the next committee hearing. Fracking is a hot topic for environmentalists, health professionals, and those in the tourism industry alike, as it threatens Florida’s groundwater with contamination by toxic chemicals. Senate and House Committees heard fracking ban legislation last session, but it failed to pass after receiving amendments to the Senate bill that reached beyond the scope of fracking. Ultimately, the House and Senate versions of the bill were too different to be reconciled.
Floridians are anxious to solidify the state’s fracking ban in the upcoming legislative session as more information on the devastating health impacts of fracking come to light. Residents in a four-county region in Southwestern Pennsylvania fear the nearby fracking operations are to blame for the community’s Ewing sarcoma cluster, an extremely rare form of cancer. Nearly 30 cases of Ewing sarcoma have been identified already in the region.
Food & Water Action is the political advocacy arm of the research and education organization Food & Water Watch. We mobilize people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water and climate problems of our time.