The number of oil and natural gas wells in the U.S. that use what’s known as ‘fracking’ has increased more than ten-fold in the past two decades, and now accounts for 67-percent of the country’s natural gas, and more than half of the crude oil production -- that’s according to a Florida Senate report. There are currently no wells in Florida that use the technique, because the known oil and gas formations don’t need to use fracking to get to the oil and gas. But, there are active efforts to get the practice banned in Florida before it ever does begin. Last year, Florida lawmakers ended their legislative session without writing regulations for fracking and stimulated oil-drilling techniques. And now, as the 2019 session approaches, and with support from Governor Ron DeSantis, there are several new fracking ban bills on the agenda, including one filed by Republican Representative Heather Fitzenhagen of Fort Myers. There’s also a bill proposed by Democratic Senator Bill Montford that seeks to prohibit any use of water and chemicals to fracture rocks in pursuit of oil and gas, anywhere in Florida.
We’re going to try to unpack this issue today, starting with members of Floridians Against Fracking: Kim Ross is Executive Director of ReThink Energy Florida; Michelle Allen is Senior Florida Organizer with Food & Water Watch; and Dr. Howard Kessler is a member of the steering committee for Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Then we talk with Dave Mica, he is Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute, which is a trade association with more than 600 members representing all sectors of the petroleum industry including most of the nation’s major oil companies.