State Sens. Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard filed legislation Tuesday banning fracking in Florida in an effort to protect the state’s water supply and economy.
Fracking—or hydraulic fracturing—is a way to mine for natural gas and oil. The method involves pumping water, chemicals and sand into rock to break it open.
Soto, D-Orlando, said fracking in the state is a bad idea. He said this oil and natural gas extraction method could hurt Florida’s economy—which relies heavily on agriculture and tourism.
“The key is this: there shouldn’t be any fracking in Florida,” he said. “We are a beautiful state that has so much to lose from fracking and so little to gain from a few small areas that it’s actually just disgraceful that we would allow it here.”
Soto said there are just too many unknowns. He said he worries the state’s water supply would be most at risk. Soto said there’s little evidence fracking near aquifers would not affect the state’s drinking water.
“We get most of our water from the Floridian Aquifer—which is obviously an underground water source. We are very concerned fracking could potentially do damage to this critical water supply,” he said.
Following a fracking-like incident in Collier County a year ago, other state lawmakers have said they are interested in regulating fracking during this legislative session. The state currently has very few and mostly antiquated oil and gas laws on the books.
But, Soto said regulations instead of an all-out ban would just encourage oil and gas extraction in the state. He said an all-out ban would be best.