Natural Gas

Photo: Big Cypress National Preserve, National Park Service

Friday on Gulf Coast Live features WGCU's contribution to the statewide Decision Florida collaborative reporting project: an in-depth report looking at a proposed ban in Florida to hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking," and other fracking-like oil and gas well stimulation treatments in the state.

Mary Crandall/ Creative Commons

Florida lawmakers are tackling a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing, and other fracking-like well stimulation treatments in the state.  The Republican-sponsored bills in the House and Senate have gained a number of co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.  Supporters of the ban say the risks of surface water and ground water contamination from fracking make the technology too risky. They say the technique is incompatible with Florida’s geology.  Opponents worry about its impact on energy costs, Florida’s economy and point to the lack of a Florida-specific study on the potential impacts of fracking.  

Some Florida environmental activists are hoping to channel public interest from one pipeline to another, by organizing a series of protests across the state. This year Native American leaders, activists and celebrities staged a months-long protest at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, spurring the Obama Administration to ultimately halt the project. Some Florida environmentalists are taking inspiration from the Dakota Access protests in their own fight against the Sabal Trail Pipeline

Environmental activists are sounding the alarm as a fracking bill continues to move through the Florida Legislature. Hundreds flocked to the Old Capitol Wednesday to raise their voices in protest.

State regulators will hear arguments Tuesday on a proposal by Florida Power & Light to build a power plant in Okeechobee County, but critics question the need for the nearly $1.2 billion project.

FPL contends the natural-gas plant is the "best, most cost-effective option" to meet a need for additional power generation starting in 2019. The project, designed as what is known as a combined-cycle plant, would be built on an undeveloped site owned by FPL in northeast Okeechobee County.