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Fracking bills pass Senate committee with DEP support

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Bills dealing with oil and gas hydraulic fracturing in Florida passed their first Senate committee stop on Tuesday after a state environmental official said they would provide needed regulation for the industry. SB 1468 by state Sen. Garrett Richter, a Republican from Bradenton, requires the state to develop rules for permitting “high-pressure well-stimulation,” which includes hydraulic fracturing — also called fracking. SB 1582 provides for a public records exemption for fracking “trade secrets.” Paula Cobb, the Florida Department of Environmental…

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Senate committee chair seeks to ban fracking during study

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An amendment that was filed Monday — and later withdrawn — by the chairman of a Senate committee would have placed a ban on state permits for oil and gas fracking until a study of the practice can be completed in 2016. SB 1468 by Sen. Garrett Richter, a Republican from Bradenton, requires the state to develop rules for permitting “high-pressure well-stimulation,” which includes hydraulic fracturing — also called fracking. The bill is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Senate Committee…

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Fracking bills pass House panel after testy exchanges

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House bills that involve oil and gas “fracking” passed their first committee stop with support from some environmental groups and opposition from others and tense questioning by state Rep. Ray Pilon. HB 1205 would establish a permitting program for hydraulic fracturing and acid fracturing, which are processes used to extract oil and gas from rock. HB 1209 would provide a public records law exemption for companies that submit information on their fracking operations. Last week, Tallahassee and Leon County joined…

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Darren Soto says cities, counties pushing for fracking ban

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The Democratic sponsor of a Senate bill that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, said Thursday that local governments are creating a groundswell of support for the legislation. Fracking can involve using water, sand, and chemicals to force oil and gas from underground rock. Environmentalists have raised concerns that the process is a threat to drinking water, especially in Florida with its reliance on aquifers for its water supply. Hydraulic fracturing would be banned under SB 166, by state Sen. Darren…

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Associated Industries of FL working group to discuss onshore oil and gas production

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Associated Industries of Florida announced Wednesday it’s forming a “Florida Mineral Rights Working Group” to focus on oil and gas production — with no mention of the even more controversial idea of offshore drilling. The announcement comes as legislation (SB 166/HB 169) has been filed to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is a process of using sand, water and chemicals to produce oil and gas. The filing of the bills follows a public uproar in Southwest Florida after the…

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With environmental issues looming, Alan Hays won’t haggle over Amendment 1 spending

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With industry and environmental groups sparring over what qualifies for spending under Amendment 1, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees environmental spending says he won’t haggle over the issue. Amendment 1, the water and land conservation funding initiative approved by voters in November, will be a focus of the 2015 legislative session starting Tuesday. The initiative will provide an estimated $757 million toward eligible programs in fiscal year 2015-16. It’s just one issue in what is shaping up…

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