After failed attempts to pass such a bill in the past, a Senate Democrat filed a proposal Thursday that would ban the controversial oil- and natural-gas drilling process known as “fracking.”

Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart filed the proposal (SB 146) for consideration during the 2019 Legislative Session, which will start in March.

Environmental groups and some lawmakers have long wanted to block potential fracking in Florida, but bills have died. Last year, former Republican Sen. Dana Young filed a bill (SB 462) to ban fracking. It passed two Senate panels before dying the Appropriations Committee.

A similar bill in the House of Representatives died before being heard in committee.

Fracking, in part, involves injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to create fractures in rock formations, allowing natural gas and oil to be released. While supporters say fracking increases production and holds down energy costs, opponents argue it threatens water supplies and can cause environmental damage

Fracking is not currently practiced in Florida but has been the topic of intense debate in the Florida Legislature and in local governments.

Earlier this year, Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis told The Food & Water Action Fund that he supports a ban on oil and gas fracking in Florida. His affirmation made for unanimous support for a ban among all seven major gubernatorial candidates.

“As the self-proclaimed most conservative major candidate in the Florida Gubernatorial race, Congressman DeSantis’s stance against fracking displays the growing bipartisan support for protecting Florida from the risks of fracking and offshore drilling,” the group stated at the time.


Orlando correspondent Scott Powers contributed to this report.

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