Potential fracking ban on the horizon in Florida

Several states are currently involved in heated debates concerning hydraulic fracturing. The debates have ranged from whether states should implement fracking bans to whether localities have the authority to issue such prohibitions. Florida appears to be joining the debate. On Tuesday, two Florida state senators—Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard—proposed a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state beginning on July 1, 2015.

According to Senator Soto, the bill is necessary to ensure the integrity of the state’s water supply and environment. Specifically, Soto expressed concern that fracking may cause pollution and contaminate the water supply. Because Florida depends heavily upon tourism, Soto argued that it is imperative that the state take measure to protect the environment. As additional support for S.B. 166, Senators Soto and Bullard noted that Florida voters voted in favor of an amendment to the Florida constitution that would increase funding for natural lands in the state.

The impact of this proposed bill is questionable because Florida does not contain a significant amount of natural gas shale. That said, there are reports that companies are beginning to consider drilling operations in Florida. S.B. 166 isn’t the first bill concerning hydraulic fracturing in the state. Two bills were proposed in the Florida House of Representatives during the last legislative session that would require companies to disclose the chemicals used in their drilling operations.

Read S.B. 166.

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (barclay.nicholson@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713 651 3662) and Johnjerica Hodge (johnjerica.hodge@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713 651 5698) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.