Tallahassee, FL-- Today, hundreds of Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys gathered together in the state capitol to urge elected officials to support a fracking ban, fund land conservation, commit to renewable energy and protect Florida’s waters.
Citing more than 900 health studies, the groups and legislators emphasized that there is no place for fracking in the Sunshine State. The latest analysis of health studies on fracking from Physicians for Social Responsibility demonstrates fracking’s threats to Florida’s water. To date, 90 local measures have been passed that oppose fracking.
“We have banded together across the state to demand that public health, the environment and yes, even our local economies, are put before big oildrive
interests,” said Kim Ross, Executive Director of Rethink Energy Florida. “The Florida legislature is in the perfect position to follow the leadership of state governments like New York and Maryland and impose a fracking ban now before the inherent health and safety problems caused by fracking devastate our state.”
Legislation to ban fracking -- a dangerous oil and gas excavation method that involves stimulating wells with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals -- in Florida has been introduced in both the state Senate and House with bipartisan sponsorship (SB 462 and HB237).
“As a 6th generation Floridian and avid outdoorsman, I believe we must act quickly and decisively to protect our fragile environment from incompatible well stimulation practices in our state,” said State Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa). “I have been fortunate to have grown up in a family with a very deep connection, understanding and appreciation of Florida’s beautiful natural environment. I have filed this bill for my children and for all the current and future generations of Floridians who I believe deserve to have this same opportunity.”
Another bill proposed this year by State Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park), Senate Bill 370, would dedicate $100 million annually to Florida Forever, the state’s premiere land conservation program. Even though voters overwhelmingly approved funding for land conservation as part of the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in 2014, the legislature has yet to use these funds appropriately. Today’s rally coincided with the passage of SB 370 in the Senate.
“I commend the Senate for making land conservation a priority and increasing funding to Florida Forever,” said State Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg). Now it is time for the House to follow suit and make a meaningful and significant investment in the program. We must invest in protecting our environment now to make sure that Florida’s natural treasures will be around for generations to cherish and enjoy.”
Following the press conference, more than 100 Floridians met with their legislators or their staffs to ask them directly to support the legislation.
Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All is a rally and advocacy day organized by ReThink Energy Florida, Floridians Against Fracking, Food & Water Watch, Environment Florida, Sierra Club Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, Organize Florida, Progress for All, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Florida Student Power Network, Florida Conservation Voters, Rethink Energy Action Fund, Urban Paradise Guild, and more.