Hillsborough County attorney: fracking bills prohibit local control

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Opponents of the fracking bill stand during public testimony. Screen grab from The Florida Channel webcast. 6 Nov. 2015.

On Thursday Hillsborough County commissioners heard a report on the controversial fossil fuel drilling technique called fracking; in their role as the county’s Environmental Protection Commission they were warned by county attorney Rick Morati about hydraulic fracturing and the state bills that could preempt local control.

“We’re always concerned about preemption in bills.”

During public comment former EPC executive director Rick Garrity said there are two problems with fracking bills moving through the state Legislature.

“The first is the issue of preemption. House Bill 191 and Senate Bill 318 specifically preempt local government regulation of fracking. They do this even before they’re also requiring a $1 million study of fracking. Preemption is bad enough to start with. And worse when the state acknowledges the need to spend a million dollars to even study the issue. Secondly, in addition, EPC policy is to oppose such local preemption attempts. I urge you to oppose the preemption in these two bills. On fracking itself, central Florida is especially dependent on groundwater as a potable supply and our aquifers are vulnerable to pollutant sources. There’s enough concern over fracking already in Florida that over 50% of our population is represented by local officials who have taken a strong position opposing fracking.”

Watch the section of the EPC’s meeting on hydraulic fracturing here:

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