Two Republican lawmakers want to regulate Florida’s oil and gas resources, but an environmental group argues the proposed bills don’t go far enough.
Drilling has come under increased scrutiny in the past year, partly because the Collier-Hogan well, south of Lake Trafford, was fracked at the end of 2013.
Hydraulic fracturing is not illegal in Florida, and neither Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples, nor Rep. Ray Rodrigues of Estero, is proposing such a ban — unlike some Democratic legislators.
In December, Sen. Darren Soto and Sen. Dwight Bullard filed legislation (SB 166) to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state. In January, Rep. Evan Jenne filed a similar measure (HB 169). Both bills are currently in committee.
Instead, both Republican lawmakers are calling for changes to state oil and gas law to include “high pressure well stimulation.”
Richter’s bill (SB 1468) defines the process as a “well intervention performed by injecting more than 100,000 gallons of fluids into a rock formation at high pressure” to create fractures to increase production at an oil or gas well.
He said the bill was crafted with the help of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with input from other stakeholders including Collier County and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Dee Ann Miller, a spokeswoman for the DEP, said the agency collaborated with Richter on the language of the bill but could not confirm if it would suggest changes or push for its passage.
“The department will continue to review and monitor this and other related bills,” she said.