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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough Commissioners to Florida lawmakers: Drop the fracking bill

A fracking site is situated on the outskirts of town in the Permian Basin oil field on January 21, 2016 in the oil town of Midland, Texas. Hillsborough Commissioners voted Wednesday to ask state lawmakers not to prohibit local fracking regulations as part of a bill that would allow natural gas extraction in the state.

Associated Press

A fracking site is situated on the outskirts of town in the Permian Basin oil field on January 21, 2016 in the oil town of Midland, Texas. Hillsborough Commissioners voted Wednesday to ask state lawmakers not to prohibit local fracking regulations as part of a bill that would allow natural gas extraction in the state.

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February

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose legislation in Tallahassee that would prohibit local restrictions on the natural gas extraction process known as fracking.

Conjuring up comparisons to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich., Commissioner Les Miller said the bill would limit the ability of localities to protect natural resoruces and assure that companies fracking here won’t affect the water quality.

“Can you imagine having Flint, Mich., in the state of Florida?” Miller said.

The bills, House Bill 191 and Senate Bill 318, also allow companies to keep secret the chemicals used in the fracking process because they would be considered proprietary. Versions of both bills have passed several committees already.

The four Republican and two Democratic commissioners in attendance Wednesday approved a letter to Tallahassee asking lawmakers to remove provisions in the legislation regarding “trade secrets” and any preemptions on local regulations.

“It appears that if we can get the trade secret and preemption language removed, we’ll have a good bill in there,” Commissioner Stacy White said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 2:38pm]

    

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