Overjoyed are Florida environmentalists and activists as they learned Florida State Senators would not pursue legislation authorizing hydraulic fracking and matrix acidizing in the Florida Everglades.
Feeling pressure from public outcry, the lawmakers dismissed the initiative supported by the petroleum and natural gas industry. Nearly 50 municipalities, environmental and utility authorities have ordinances in place prohibiting fracking on their properties. Had the initiative advanced and become legislation, these ordinances would be nullified. All fracking activity would come under a single state agency jurisdiction.
Republican sState Senator Garrett Richter, the sponsor of the failed initiative contends more safeguards would be implemented through a Florida Department of Environmental Protection study. The study would discuss the logistics of matrix acidizing and hydraulic fracking and the chemical agents. Richter said exploratory drilling would not occur until the study was finished and limits were established.
Environment Florida state director, Jennifer Rubiello commented, “Fracking would threaten our drinking water and the Everglades, and that’s why this bill has drawn wide, bipartisan opposition from every corner of our state.” She further remarked,“We’re delighted that senators have sided with the clean water and natural beauty that makes Florida famous, not with the narrow interests of the oil and gas polluters.”
Those opposing the proposed legislation stated there was never a need for a study to show fracking viability in the Everglades. They cited the impact fracking would have on the subterranean limestone bedrock and Biscayne Aquifer. The aquifer is South Florida’s primary fresh water source.
Senator Richter believes the low per barrel price of oil played a significant role in not finding support for the legislation. He indicated as the price of oil increases, petroleum producers will need to satisfy consumer demand. They will lobby for hydraulic fracking and matrix acidizing in Florida once again.
According to figures published by the National Wildlife Federation, the Florida Everglades covers over two million acres. Spanning from the south of Orlando to the South Florida Bay, it is a habitat for an array of animals, organisms and plant species.
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