Some Florida lawmakers pushing for a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing are working from unfounded fears, not reason, according to a retired U.S. Army colonel who says the state must allow the continued use of this method of extracting natural gas.
American innovation and smart policy decisions related to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, have helped spur an energy renaissance in the country, said Army veteran Dennis O. Freytes, volunteer chair of Florida Vets4Energy.
Vets4Energy advocates for policy solutions that increase America's energy independence.
Lawmakers in Florida are not supporting fossil fuels or fracking because of unfounded fears that are not based on reality, Freytes told Florida Business Daily.
"Today, we have new engineering technology, regulations at national and state, and other safeguards in place to protect our water supply and the environment," he said.
A bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature that would ban fracking, as has been done in New York.
Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) and Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg) are sponsoring SB 462, which would prohibit the use of fracking, a drilling method based on the high-powered shooting of water and chemicals deep into the ground to extract natural gas.
Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, told Florida Politics that passing a ban is vital.
"Fracking poses too big of a risk for the millions of Florida families and visitors who trust that our groundwater is safe and clean," Moncrief told the news site. "Protecting Floridians from hazardous activities like fracking is the right thing to do, and no one should be intimidated by unsubstantiated claims that this good bill interferes with existing property rights. It simply doesn’t."
Freytes disagrees, claiming "the energy renaissance we have enjoyed as a country over the last decade has been due to American innovation and smart policy decisions which have led to lower energy prices."
This good for consumers and businesses growth, he added. It liberates the entrepreneurial spirit and has helped the nation grow into a world energy power, the retired colonel said.
That helps both this country and allies, he added.
"Florida is the nation’s second-biggest user of natural gas behind Texas, relying heavily on it for electricity, heating and cooling," Freytes said. "It has been a big energy consumer and contributor for decades which has led to economic growth, job creation, and prosperity for the good of all."
Freytes added, "At the same time, Floridians love the environment; it’s a priority to protect the nature that surrounds us.
"We also must ensure that Florida uses all energy resources – oil, gas, solar, hydroelectric … to build a better Florida. Besides, we must be part of the national solution, not part of the problem."