Orlando Sen. Darren Soto launched an online petition this morning to ban the natural gas exploration practice of hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – in the state of Florida.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

While the practice does open up avenues for oil and gas production, opponents say the practice contaminates water sources and has negative long term effects on the land.

“We have started this petition to show overwhelming citizen support for our effort to ban fracking in Florida,” Soto told Florida Politics this morning. “With each petition, we will gain ground in our fight to ban fracking and stop pro-fracking legislation. Please join me in voicing your support.”

The petition had gained 260 signatures in 3 hours. Soto attempted to pass legislation that would have banned fracking in the previous legislative session. He’s currently running for Congress in the 9th District consisting of Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties and has made the initiative part of his campaign platform.

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