Protestors gather during a anti-fracking rally outside of the capitol Wednesday, March 22, 2017. (Photo: Joe Rondone/Democrat)
Naples Daily News
By Arek Sarkissian
March 22, 2017
ALLAHASSEE — Opponents of fracking in Florida gathered in front of the Capitol on Wednesday to voice support for proposed legislation to prohibit the oil and gas drilling method statewide.
Many in the crowd of roughly 100 people flooded legislative committee rooms last year as the Legislature considered a plan that proposed a study of fracking and statewide regulation.
"Maybe this year they came to their senses," said Dianne Whitecotton, who traveled to the rally from Tampa. "They realized that with our geology, it's bad for Florida."
This year Whitecotton and other residents who oppose fracking have the support of Senate Republicans.
Also in the crowd was St. Augustine resident John Pilecki, who said some Republicans finally have listened to the counties and municipalities that have passed about 40 bans in the state.
"I think at this point, with the idea of fracking being pretty early and all of the opposition, it's time to stop it," Pilecki said. "It seems like minds have changed, but I know mine hasn't."
Sen. Dana Young, of Tampa, is sponsoring a bill that would create an all-out ban on fracking, which fractures rock in the way of oil or natural gas.
Some small changes might be made in the bill to not affect water well drilling, but the Senate likely will pass it in its all-out form.
"I don't see any reason to make any other changes," said Young, who as a House Republican leader last year helped gather votes to regulate fracking.
"From the research I saw, fracking isn't for our state," Young said.
Young spoke at the rally along with Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who told the crowd a ban was the only solution to protect the state's natural resources.
However, Young's bill might not survive the House in its absolute form. A House version filed by Rep. Mike Miller, R-Orlando, will need to take on last year's failed statewide regulation bill for it to have a chance. The sponsor of last year's bill, Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, is now the House majority leader.
"I know leader Rodrigues will need to see some elements of his bill in there, so that's something we're still trying to work out," Miller said. "And with Senator Young unwilling to compromise much, which you know, we're still trying to see what we can do."…
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