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Fracking public records bill hangs on whether supporters vote against exemptions

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State Rep. Matt Gaetz voted for a hydraulic fracturing regulation bill on Monday, but says he will vote against a companion bill that would provide a public records law exemption. The outcome of the public records exemption bill likely depends on whether Gaetz is joined by others who supported the bill to provide for fracking regulation. HB 1205, which the Department of Environmental Protection proposed to create a fracking permitting program, passed the House 82-34 on Monday. HB 1209, the bill to exclude…

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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An amendment that was filed Monday — and later withdrawn — by the chairman of a Senate committee would have placed a ban on state permits for oil and gas fracking until a study of the practice can be completed in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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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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