Protecting Our Community
Access to clean water is a basic human right
Fracking Contaminates Drinking Water
93% of the population is in danger of drinking contaminated water
Protect Water From Being Contaminated
Prevent Harmful Effects of Climate Change
Enforce State Laws on Pollution
Climate change has been a topic of conversation since the beginning of the 21st century. Sixty-three percent of Americans say that climate change is affecting their local community. Consequently, sixty percent think that climate change is a major threat to the well-being of the United States. There are many causes of climate change that can and should be addressed by the government in order to preserve the environment in hopes of a better future. One of these causes is governments allowing oil companies to employ fracking, which is why Florida has different legislations and regulations limiting this. However, it is not enough to stop the horrible effects it is having on the Floridian environment.
Fracking is defined as “the process of drilling into host formations (shales and tight sandstones) and injecting fluids and sand under pressure great enough to fracture the rock formations to allow the extraction of oil and gas.” This method of oil and gas extraction contaminates Florida’s precious water.
In order for fracking to take place, it requires thousands of gallons of water to be pumped into the ground to generate the cracks that expose more oil and natural gas. The water is pumped with added chemicals called “fracking fluids.” When the water, chemicals, oil, and gas are pumped back up there is always a percentage of contaminated water left in the ground. There are two types of industrially contaminated water but the most concerning and relevant is “produced water” that flows out of the well over the entire life of the well for many years. Oil and gas companies are producing “industrial effluent” that contains many toxic chemicals, fuels, sand, and water. The storage of this wastewater leads to the contamination of aquifers and groundwater because in most cases companies have to drill through the aquifer and install casings that will stay there forever. 93% percent of Florida’s population depends on Florida’s groundwater for its drinking water. This means 93% of the population is at risk of contaminated drinking water and/or loss of drinking water.
There are currently 34 counties in Florida that have banned the use of fracking. At the state level, there is currently a law that states “pollution is prohibited, that spills be reported and that the driller is liable for damages”. While it does not specifically state that it applies to fracking, they still wouldn’t be able to pollute the environment. However, it’s obvious that these laws are not enforced.
So, What Can We Do?!
Chapter 570 section 07 of the Florida Statutes states that the Commissioner of Agriculture has the power to inquire the needs of agriculture in the state and make appropriate recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. The Commissioner of Agriculture could in turn create a committee dedicated to the research and enforcement of these regulations that apply to fracking. This section of the Florida Statutes also states that the Commissioner of Agriculture has the power to declare an emergency when one exists in any matter pertaining to agriculture. If the Commissioner of Agriculture were to declare a fracking emergency, they would be able to put in any regulations or bans they see fit according to the emergency. This would put a stop to all fracking in the state until the legislature can come up with a more concrete solution.
In 2019, the Florida legislature introduced SB 200 which would ban fracking in the state. Along with other bills that addressed other coinciding environmental issues. However, the bill did not pass, hence the state still has no legislation that bans the practice.
The State of Florida supports the idea of a fracking ban, the legislature just needs some more votes in order to pass it, the Commissioner of Agriculture has just never tried to counter fracking before. By creating a committee specifically dedicated to enforcing fracking legislation and declaring an emergency, the dangerous practice would be put to a stop.