POINT OF VIEW: Speaker Corcoran needs to schedule fracking bill now

The vision of huge drilling rigs off of our Gulf Coast has re-energized the discussion regarding the appropriateness of certain oil and gas activities in our state. Florida has extensive wetland landscapes like America’s Everglades, sensitive aquifers that provide drinking water for so many, and a valued ecotourism and real estate-based economy. Once spoiled, these natural resources and the economy they support, can rarely be fully restored, and when possible, the cost is great. As we saw in the BP oil spill, economies can also be negatively impacted well beyond the site of the pollution.

To protect our natural resources, we ask our state Legislature to ban fracking and fracking-like activities in Florida this session. This is as urgent a need as the continued efforts to stop offshore drilling. Yet some may not know that fracking has already occurred in Florida and these techniques can continue to be used at any time. Every year that passes without a ban poses increased risks to Florida.

We are grateful for Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and the first Senate committee who unanimously voted to support an anti-fracking bill moving forward on Feb. 5.

Unfortunately, as happened last year, we understand that House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, has still not allowed a House companion bill to be scheduled. The bills will need to pass both the Senate and the House to become law.

Fracking and fracking-like activities (aka advanced oil well stimulation treatments) pose an enormous risk to Florida because it can result in surface oil spills, water contamination and waste freshwater supplies. Not only can fracking threaten our water quality but these well stimulation treatments waste substantial amounts of our precious — and limited — freshwater supplies. Well stimulation treatments use high volumes of freshwater mixed with toxic chemicals. Any water that returns to the surface includes trace radioactive elements and briny saltwater from underground. The water cannot be re-used to replenish groundwater resources, which is the source of drinking water for over 90 percent of Floridians.

In contrast, South Florida’s oil resources are of poor quality. Florida only has about 1/10 of 1 Percentof total U.S. oil reserves. The proposed legislation would ban risky well stimulation treatments, but would not infringe on mineral rights owners continuing to utilize conventional methods to access mineral resources, alleviating concerns about legal takings.

Over 90 municipalities in Florida — representing over half of the state’s population — have passed local resolutions or ordinances in support of a fracking ban. This is a major issue of concern for Floridians who do not want to jeopardize the quality and availability of water resources for a one-time industrial use that benefits so few.


Editor’s note: Rob Moher is president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Is Trump guilty, or does he just look guilty?

When absorbing news about the Mueller investigation, I can’t help thinking of Saddam Hussein. No, I’m not equating our president with the late Iraqi dictator. I’m thinking more about our assumptions regarding Saddam’s guilt. In the run-up to the Iraq War, the whole world was asking whether Saddam had a secret program for weapons...
POINT OF VIEW: We have to maintain our conservation lands

More conversation is needed on finding additional funds to support Palm Beach County’s Natural Areas Program. The Palm Beach Post did a wonderful and informative article, “County weighs price of conserving nature” (Jan. 8), that summarized how Palm Beach County was scheduled to run out of funding in 2019 for maintaining over 30,000...
Opinion: The content of the GOP’s character

Even those who have long since accepted the premise that Donald Trump is corrupt, self-centered and dishonest seem a bit shocked by his tirades over the Presidents Day weekend. Using the Parkland, Florida, massacre as an excuse to attack the FBI for investigating Russian election intervention on his behalf — while lying about his own past denials...
Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

Letters Violent images don’t seem to affect other countries

Violent images don’t harm other countries There is no doubt that there are far too many violent images today. The violence portrayed in my youth were Popeye beating some bad guy, and Vietnam. Today, it is assault weapons murdering innocent people. However, there remains one single fact that makes America stand out. Guns. The population in Great...
More Stories