A pair of Florida legislators have filed legislation that would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the state, and move that one Sunshine State veterans’ leader has sharply criticized.
“Putting a ban on hydraulic fracturing would void the progress we’ve made towards energy independence, said Lt. Col. Dennis Freytes, United States Army (Ret.), the volunteer co-chair of Florida Vets4Energy.
Vets4Energy is a national group of veterans who advocate for policies that increase America’s energy independence.
State Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) and State Rep. Mike Miller (R-Orlando) have both filed complementary legislation that would ban hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) in the state of Florida. Fracking is a process which entails the injection of fluid – such as a water, sand and chemical mixture — into shale beds at high pressure to free up petroleum energy resources, such as oil or natural gas.
“Why anyone would consider banning hydraulic fracturing, and going back to putting America at the mercy of unfriendly oil producing countries, is beyond this veteran’s imagination,” asserted Freytes. “Relying on the enemy for our energy just doesn’t make sense.”
Freytes said that the country “is stronger and safer” and “energy is more affordable” due to fracking.
“Hydraulic fracturing has done more to strengthen our country than most people realize,” said Freytes. “Fracking has made us an energy superpower. No longer are we completely at the mercy of less democratic countries that supply oil and natural gas. That means we control our security. We keep the energy jobs and governmental revenues they generate.”
A recent study out of Clemson University also showed an additional potential benefit of hydraulic fracturing -- a decrease in mortgage defaults.
That study, conducted by Lily Shen, assistant professor of finance at Clemson University's College of Business, found that that regions in which the hydraulic fracturing boom has taken place are less likely to have seen mortgage defaults.
“When there’s discovery of a mineral resource, a property becomes more than a place to live. The mineral rights are tied to property ownership. If a person defaults on the mortgage and loses the property, they lose the mineral rights and the potential revenue they could have generated from those rights,” Shen said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy also released a recent report that examined the economic impact if hydraulic fracturing ever were banned in the U.S.
The institute estimates that a nationwide ban would cut 3.9 million jobs in 2017 and 14.8 million by 2022. It further projects a 53 percent increase in gasoline prices, a $442 billion reduction in U.S. gross domestic product and a $3,914 increase in the cost of living in 2017.
Freytes isn’t surprised.
“Hydraulic fracturing has done more to strengthen our country than most people realize,” he said, adding that fracking has made America “an energy superpower.”
“No longer are we completely at the mercy of less democratic countries that supply oil and natural gas,” added Freytes. “That means we control our security. We keep the energy jobs and governmental revenues they generate.”