Bill aimed at hydraulic fracking clears first Senate committee


A bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing cleared its first Senate hurdle Wednesday.

The bill (SB 318), sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter would require drillers to get a permit for high-pressure well “stimulations,” calls on the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a study such techniques would have on Florida’s geology, and increases the penalty from $10,000 a day to $25,000 a day for violations.

“This legislation does create stringent disclosure laws,” said Richter, a Naples Republican. “Without this, the status quo is so much worse.”

The measure also designates FracFocus, a national chemical disclosure registry, as the state’s chemical registry. The measure also has preemption language that prohibits local governments from having ordinances regulating oil and gas exploration. Zoning laws in place before Jan. 1, 2015 will still be valid.

The Florida Association of Counties and the Florida League of Cities have taken issue with the preemption language. On Wednesday, Richter told the Senate environmental preservation and conservation committee that he is working with the organizations to tweak the preemption language.

Richter said he is working with groups to make sure “cities and counties maintain authority” while still having statewide regulatory policies.

Environmental organizations spoke out against the proposal, saying it doesn’t go far enough. Supporters, however, said the proposal is a good regulatory bill.

“AIF is supportive of the measure, as we believe it is a strong regulatory bill which would institute common-sense policies to govern the onshore oil and gas industry, including creating an additional level of oversight for advanced techniques, above and beyond what is in place now, to ensure Florida’s environment is preserved for future generations,” said Brewster Bevis, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for Associated Industries of Florida, in a prepared statement.

The bill still has two more committee stops before it makes it to the Senate floor.

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


  • Karen Chadwick

    January 14, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    They are putting out the welcome matt for polluters. You can’t clean that water up.

  • David Tillery

    January 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    We don’t need it but mostly, it’s too dangerous to our precious water supply.

  • Lisa

    January 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    We need a bill to ban fracking, not to regulate it!!

  • John

    January 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Florida sits on top of porous limestone.

    Porous (adj): ) Having minute spaces or holes through which liquid or air may pass.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that drilling down and pumping chemicals into porous substrate is going to leach right into our aquifer. Fracking needs to be banned, our lives may depend on it .

  • Trumpdashian

    January 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    GREED! Fracking will kill your water creatures when it pollutes the water- Florida should NEVER frack- IT is sandy and has many sink holes and quick sand- You cannot frack on such a soft ground- you people need to stop it NOW before your living homes get sucked into earthquake created sink holes… IT will happen look at how many earthquakes Oklahoma has a day! It is all from fracking- Texas same- Solid ground in those areas- Do NOT destroy the wetlands with poisonous fracking chemicals… DO not subject such a clean environment to crap greed.

  • margaret ross tolbert

    January 15, 2016 at 9:30 am

    This will be like the Deepwater Horizon spill but in the Floridan Aquifer. FL will be acid fractured. Shoving water and extremely acidic or alkaline chemicals with millions of gallons of fresh clean drinking water into our porous limestone to release what little amount of fossil fuel is available under our aquifer, the sole source for our drinking water for the entire state of FL.. Formulating a disaster.

  • Kathy Wood

    January 15, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    This is incomprehensible and deplorable. I donor approve. I’m all for jobs, but not at jobs at ALL COSTS. Please stop hurting our beautiful FLwaters. What happens when there is no clean water left to drink? Then you’ll listen? Please hear WE THE PEOPLE BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!

    • Kathy Wood

      January 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      *I DO NOT approve.

Comments are closed.


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