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SB 1468

Bruce Ritchie: Environmentalists think lack of legislation could be a good thing

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As I was sitting in the press gallery looking down into the darkened Senate chambers on the last day of the 2015 Legislative session, I was reminded of how the environment usually seems to lose amid debate and controversy. The O.J. Simpson trial. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Jackson’s death. A police shooting in Ferguson, Mo. When these incidents happen, discussion and debate about environmental issues gets pushed off the evening news and forced into the back pages of…

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‘Year of water’ failed along with environmental bills, but some did pass

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Another legislative session dubbed the “year of water” failed to deliver in 2015 as the House went home early over a healthcare spending dispute with the Senate. HB 7003, a water bill that was a legislative priority of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, passed the House by a 106-9 vote on the second day of session. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and industry groups supported the bill, which would have set milestones and timetables for cleaning up springs and other waterways. The Senate…

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Water, fracking bills die as Senate meets without House

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A House bill establishing comprehensive water policy was amended and passed by the Senate on Wednesday but was dead because the House had adjourned on Tuesday. And House bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing were not voted on in the Senate because their Senate sponsor said they lacked the two-thirds vote needed. The 2015 legislative session continued in an unusual atmosphere on Wednesday with the Senate taking up bills after the House adjourned amid a budget impasse over healthcare spending. A…

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Senate bill amended to ban fracking during study, rule-making

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A bill that would regulate oil and gas hydraulic fracturing was amended by a Senate committee on Tuesday to place a moratorium on the activity until after a study is completed in 2016. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “high-pressure well-stimulation” or “fracking,” is a process involving the use of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and gas from rock. Supporters say SB 1468 is needed to provide regulation for fracking like that which occurred in 2013 in Collier County. The Florida Department…

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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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