Fracking in Florida

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Fracking in Florida
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Fossil fuels present Oil and limited natural gas[1]
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Fracking in Florida depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs in a state.

Although fracking does not occur in Florida, acidification (also known as "acid fracking") has occurred in the state. Acidification is an oil drilling process whereby acid is injected under high pressure into the ground. According to a report by National Public Radio, an oil company (Dan A. Hughes, Co.) utilized the practice in Florida for the first time in December 2013, near a town on the western edge of the Everglades. This resulted in outcry from local officials and environmental advocates, who argued that state officials were "lax in their oversight of the drilling, jeopardizing public health and the environment."[2]

The state issued a cease and desist order to the company upon discovering that acidification was taking place, but the company did not stop operations. The company ultimately paid a $25,000 fine and agreed to install groundwater monitors. The state Department of Environmental Resources also installed groundwater monitors and maintained that early evidence showed no evidence of water contamination.[2]

Senators Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard are planning to introduce a bill that would ban fracking in the state. According to Orlando Weekly the bill declares that "a person may not engage in hydraulic fracturing in this state." Meanwhile, two environmental groups in Florida are working on a different bill that would place limits on how and where fracking can be done, but does not outright ban fracking. This proposal, being drafted by the League of Women Voters of Orange County and students at the Barry University School of Law, would allow municipalities to ban fracking within their jurisdictions.[3]

For information on proposed fracking legislation in Florida see here.

Fracking background

See also: Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political tradeoffs.

Natural gas use in Florida

For more information on energy consumption in Florida, see "Energy policy in Florida"

In 2011, over one-third of Florida’s energy use was for transportation, a little under a third for residential purposes, and just under a quarter for the commercial sector. Only a small portion, just over a tenth, was used for industry. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of natural gas, followed by petroleum (or gasoline) and coal.[1]

In 2011, almost 50 percent of homes in Florida were heated with natural gas. Electricity heats almost 35 percent of homes, followed by heating fuel, LPG and other heating fuels.

Consumption of energy for heating homes in Florida
Source Florida 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 4.4% 49.5%
Fuel oil .2% 6.5%
Electricity 92.7% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 1.1% 5%
Other/none 1.5% 3.6%

Electricity produced and consumed in Florida is primarily from natural gas, which generates 65 percent of the total. Most of the natural gas used in electricity generation is shipped into Florida by two major pipelines: the Florida Gas Transmission line and the Gulfstream Pipeline. These pipelines originate in Gulf Coast states like Texas, Alabama and Mississippi.[1]

Where electricity comes from in Florida[4]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 18,000 0.09% 0.06%
Natural gas-fired 12,415,000 64.98% 1.22%
Coal-fired 3,987,000 20.87% 0.23%
Nuclear 1,935,000 10.13% 0.24%
Other renewables 359,000 1.88% 0.18%
Total net electricity generation 19,106,000 100% 0.47%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

News items

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See also

External links