The drilling procedure commonly known as "fracking" could be banned in Florida under a proposed bill.
The general bill was filed Thursday by Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, who represents Fort Myers. The measure is supported by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was inaugurated on Tuesday.
DeSantis on Thursday signed an order seeking to fulfill his campaign promise to make the environment a priority by confronting Florida's blue-green algae and red tide crisis, among other issues.
DeSantis also announced he would take "necessary actions" to oppose all off-shore oil and gas activities in Florida.
Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is a method of extracting oil or gas by injecting liquid at high pressure into the ground. The aim is to crack subterranean deep-rock formations to force existing gas or oil pockets to move more freely, which will allow easier extraction.
The practice of fracking has long been criticized by environmental activists as a dangerous method to extract fossil fuels. Organizations warn of the release of toxic chemicals possibly poisoning the land and groundwater. Fracking has been linked to generating tremors and earthquakes, as well.
House Bill 239 would ban "advanced well stimulation treatment" – meaning all methods of injecting fluids into a rock formation.
Techniques used to maintain and repair wells would be exempt from the ban.
The bill that will be voted on during 2019 legislative session that starts March 5 would become effective immediately after becoming law.
HB 239: Advanced Well Stimulation Treatment
Advanced Well Stimulation Treatment; Prohibits performance of advanced well stimulation treatments; provides that permits for drilling or operating wells do not authorize performance of advanced well treatments; provides applicability.