Florida anti-fracking bill: Experts set the record straight and activists show their true colors
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, does not currently take place in Florida because the geological conditions are not appropriate for this particular well-stimulation technique. But, just as in Vermont and other places where no fracking takes place, this hasn’t stopped environmental activists from repeatedly trying to “ban” it.
Recently, anti-fracking activists showed that their ultimate goal is not to ban fracking, but to ban all oil and gas development in the State of Florida. They have been vocally opposed to an anti-fracking measure, FL SPB7064 (19R), because it doesn’t go far enough. Florida activists approved the delay because they wanted the bill to include not just a ban on fracking but also on matrix acidizing. These are techniques to enhance well productivity that, as EID explained previously, are routine, safe and necessary for the development of oil and gas resources in Florida and are routinely used on water wells in the state.
Florida’s relatively small, but robust, energy industry, paired with the state’s unique geology, is not easily understood and activists continue to spread disinformation in an attempt to mislead politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, into supporting nonsensical fracking “bans.”
Fortunately, two industry experts testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee recently and set the record straight about fracking, as well as acidizing.
Geologist Tom Herbert, representing the Florida Independent Petroleum Producers Association (FLIPPA), explained the numerous layers of protection that exist between drinking water aquifers and any oil and gas activity. He then addressed acidizing specifically, noting that the technique occurs far below – often more than a mile – aquifers and many layers of rock.
“When we drill a well, whether it’s a water well, injection well, domestic water supply well, or a public potable water supply well, or the oil and gas well, we’re starting out and casing – steel casing – down through the productive zone. Most of the floor’s aquifer drinking water comes from the upper 200 feet. In the Biscayne Aquifer, in southeast Florida, it’s 75-80 feet and that’s where the water comes from…
“[Acids are] not going to move hundreds and hundreds of feet or a mile from that point of injection…The whole idea that we’re drilling for oil and gas is to produce the resource. If you don’t clean it up, you’re not going to produce the full amount. So, [acidization] is a process that’s used, it’s been used in every well drilled in the state since 1943.”
David Mica, the executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council (FPC), addressed the safety and benefits of fracking in the context of American energy development, noting that “This technique works, and it works well.”
“We need a lot of [oil and natural gas]. We need an awful lot of it. We make about 65 percent of our electricity from natural gas. We use about 28 billion gallons of motor fuel a day, and our industry has been producing oil and gas in Florida for about 76 years, and I’ve never, in my 33 years in the industry, had somebody come to me and say “my water well has been contaminated by your industry because of oil and gas production.”
“In fact, most Floridians don’t understand that we produce oil and gas in this state. And that’s a good thing. We quietly are able to produce the products that we need for the energy production to make us less dependent on foreign oil, to produce revenue for the state of Florida, and to produce American energy.”
Florida’s anti-industry activists will continue to try to convince Republicans and Democrats alike that fracking (which doesn’t happen in Florida) and acid treatment (which is essential in Florida; industry would shut down without it) should be banned. Science, however, doesn’t support this extreme and counterproductive approach, and FLIPPA, the FPC and, of course, EID will be continue to set the record straight.