It looks like there’s one more chance this year for the Legislature to decide whether to sensibly regulate hydraulic fracturing in Florida and it will happen Tuesday at the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
For those who view the failure of these bills as some kind of victory, you’re fooling yourselves. A “no” vote on Senate Bill 318 means another year without regulation. It does not mean a ban of fracking in Florida — a practice that is rarely even attempted here yet that has benefitted our nation tremendously.
The reason we are now paying $1.70 per gallon for gasoline instead of $6, and $2 for natural gas instead of $13, is because fracking helped to create such an abundance of those resources that the bottom fell out of the market — basic supply and demand economics.
The reason our air is getting cleaner is because natural gas has become more affordable than coal, and so our electricity generating plants are now burning it, instead of coal. The corresponding reduction in greenhouse gases has been massive.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, our greenhouse gas emissions are the lowest in 17 years, largely due to the rapid drop in coal-fired electricity and the corresponding rise in electricity generated by cleaner fuels, especially natural gas.
Tallahasseeans, if you’ve studied your utility bill lately you’ve noticed a reduction in rates, both for electricity and natural gas, due entirely to the reduced cost of natural gas that resulted from fracking.
In 2008, just as fracking began to revolutionize our oil and gas production, we imported more than 6 million barrels of oil from OPEC at an average price of $94 per barrel. As a result, an ocean of money was transferred from our country to OPEC countries. But now, thanks to fracking, we are exporting oil and natural gas, thereby creating an economic boon and improving our national security situation.
Let’s have a meaningful discussion on this legislation and what it would really do, not what activists want the public to think it does.
Greg Preble, P.E., is President of G.S. Preble Engineering, Inc. of Tallahassee, a civil and structural consulting engineering firm. Column courtesy of Context Florida.