Anti-fracking rallies were held across the state over the weekend after the Florida House voted to prohibit local municipalities from placing their own bans on the controversial drilling practice.
Fracking could take place in the Sunshine State as early as next year. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will first conduct $1 million study of the potential environmental and human health impacts of fracking.
The new bill says fracking companies won’t have to disclose the chemicals or carcinogens used in the process of extracting natural gas, which is a concern to many, like Deerfield Beach mom Kiska Austin.
She joined nearly 30 others at a street corner on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami on Saturday, shouting “No fracking way!” among other chants.
“Our representatives, they have children and grandchildren and families – they live here” she said. “They still sell us out. They’re going to ruin the environment for their own families. So it really doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Those who voted in favor of the bill say it regulates a previously unregulated industry.
Members of the petroleum industry have contributed over half a million dollars to lawmakers.
Most of Florida’s drinking water is underground. Environmental groups, concerned citizens and some lawmakers fear that drinking water will become compromised or poisoned during the fracking process.
The bill passed just a day after Broward County, following 26 other counties in the state, backed a ban on fracking. The House bill would supersede bans passed by counties.
The Florida Senate is now considering its own version of the bill.