Florida local officials voted Tuesday to ban all hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within county lines, but there’s no fracking taking place anywhere in the county.
The Broward County fracking ban came after the Florida state Senate advanced a bill Monday to nullify attempts by local governments to ban fracking, reserving the right to drilling for the state government.
Environmental activists weren’t worried about fracking within the county until an oil company requested a permit to drill an experimental well in part of the Everglades late last year. Activists circulated an online petition last year asking Broward County to ban fracking, but the petition failed to gather even 100 signatures over the entire year.
“The people doing the permitting are geologists and engineers,” Matthew Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association, testified before a Broward County commission. “They’re not wetland experts.” Schwart went on to complain that the people behind fracking aren’t environmentalists and that oil development could trump the rights of local animals in the ecologically sensitive Florida Everglades swamps.
Environmentalists are also worried groundwater could be contaminated with chemicals used in the fracking process. Fracking involves injecting sand, water and some chemicals deep underground to break open shale formations and unleash previously inaccessible oil and natural gas.
“I’m here because I don’t want my water polluted like Flint,” Tanya Tweeton, an environmental activist associated with a local Sierra Club affiliate, told the Broward Palm Beach New Times Wednesday. “If the aquifer gets contaminated, that’s it. The water will be poisoned.”
The idea fracking can contaminate aquifers defies “basic geology [which] prevents such contamination from starting below ground,” according to the science magazine Popular Mechanics.
The Broward County official who proposed the ban did not respond to requests for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication. The mayor’s office declined the opportunity to comment.
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