Florida lawmakers weigh statewide fracking ban

- Opponents of fracking held a rally at the State Capital in Tallahassee Wednesday, asking the legislature to a pass a statewide ban on the controversial drilling method, saying it could ruin the water supply.

The push for a statewide ban comes after 90 cities and counties have gone on record against the practice.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, pumps huge volumes of chemicals, sand and water underground to split open rock formations to allow oil and gas to flow.

"The truth of the matter is, these new technologies, we don't know where these chemicals go when they're shot in the ground," said State Sen. Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale).

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Ft. Myers) added, "If we have toxic water in Florida, tourists and people who want to live here and come here are not going to anymore."

But those within the industry say there are two sides to the fracking story.

A TV ad in support of natural gas says fracking is the "safe exploration of clean natural gas."

Industry groups are running the ad campaign to try to shoot down the proposed ban. They say a fracking ban would take away the property rights of land owners and lead to expensive lawsuits for the state.

To become law, the ban would have to pass the state senate and house and be signed by the governor. It's sure to be one of the most-watched pieces of legislation this session.

The cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa, and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are among the Bay Area governments that have passed anti-fracking measures.

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