fracking

A proposal allowing Florida Power and Light to charge customers for exploratory natural gas drilling has cleared a key senate hurdle, despite numerous consumer concerns. The company calls the move a hedge against future fuel increases.

The fate of a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing appears sealed now that a powerful Republican is calling it quits.

PR Newswire/AP

President Trump fulfilled one of his big campaign promises on Tuesday: He signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

That plan was intended to cut harmful carbon emissions by replacing coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources. Trump wants to repeal it as a step towards boosting the struggling coal industry.

But in Florida and across the country, it's doubtful the rollback will have much impact -- positive or negative, says University of Miami economist David Kelly.

Florida lawmakers are tackling a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing, and other fracking-like well stimulation treatments in the state.  The Republican-sponsored bills in the House and Senate have gained a number of co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.  Supporters of the ban say the risks of surface water and ground water contamination from fracking make the technology too risky.

Senate Panel To Consider Fracking Ban In Florida

Mar 3, 2017
Caitlin Granfield / WLRN News

Just hours after the annual legislative session starts Tuesday, a Senate committee will take up a bill that would ban fracking in Florida.

The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is slated Tuesday afternoon to consider the bill (SB 442), filed by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.

Fracking is a method of drilling for oil and natural gas that has become controversial in recent years as it has become widely used in other parts of the country.

Brennan Linsley / AP via Miami Herald

President-elect Donald Trump has made much of his planned energy policies. He has said he'll boost the coal industry by rolling back President Obama's Clean Power Plan and in a recent video outlining plans for his first 100 days in office, Trump said he wants to expand the shale energy industry as well.

So, how much will these measures impact a state like Florida, swampy and with no coal mines? Not much, according to some experts. 

 

Pat Sullivan / AP via Miami Herald

Fracking is now banned in Miami-Dade County, thanks to an ordinance passed unanimously last Wednesday by county commissioners.

 

The process captures natural gas reserves by injecting high pressure streams of water, sand and chemicals into the earth. The Miami-Dade ordinance says fracking could contaminate county water supplies, including the Biscayne Aquifier, where many South Florida residents get their water.

 

Caitlin Granfield / WLRN

The Senate sponsor of a controversial bill about the regulation of "fracking" in Florida withdrew it from consideration Tuesday, saying he didn't have the votes to get through a key committee.

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that the opposition of environmentalists played a key role in thwarting the measure (SB 318).

"Emotions tend to magnify the controversy," he said.

Dale/flickr

The Florida Roundup looks at the death penalty, heavy rains, fracking and more this week.

The Florida Supreme Court stopped one execution as questions continue around the process of how Florida decides the death penalty. Dozens of inmates on death row could challenge their sentences.

South Florida is being drenched by historic rains in the midst of what is supposed to be the dry season. Lake Okeechobee is swollen, sending dirty water into rivers and raising worries about pollution.

Anti-fracking Rallies: A Response to Oust Local Bans

Feb 1, 2016
Caitlin Granfield / WLRN News

  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.

Dozens of Florida cities and counties oppose a plan to give the state control over the oil and gas exploration process known as fracking.

MOSE BUCHELE / StateImpact NPR

A bill that would create a new regulatory structure in Florida for oil and gas drilling, including the controversial practice known as "fracking," easily passed a House panel Tuesday despite roughly 50 environmentalists on hand to oppose the measure.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 191), filed by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, and Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, on a straight party-line vote of 9-4.

FPL
Florida Power & Light Company / WLRN

The Public Service Commission last year approved Florida Power and Light's plan to go fracking for natural gas in Oklahoma.

Even then, it was clear the utility planned to charge Florida rate payers for the project in another state, and advocates at the Public Counsel's Office filed suit to stop it. The suit is pending, but now the PSC has voted again.

Daniel Ducassi

President Barack Obama visited the Everglades last week to commemorate Earth Day and to talk about the risks climate change poses to South Florida, the nation, and the world. 

"If we don't act, there may not be an Everglades as we know it," the president said.

The president also used the opportunity to chide Governor Rick Scott for his administration’s unofficial ban of the phrase "climate change."