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House advances bill to disclose 'fracking' chemicals

No one knows if Florida is going to be the next frontier for the new generation of oil and gas drilling known as fracking, but state legislators say its time to write rules to require disclosure of the controversial technology just in case. 

A bill expected to be approved in the Florida House on Wednesday will require companies to disclose what chemicals they use when they explore for oil and gas using the controversial extraction process. 

Fracking uses hydraulic fracturing technology to inject water, sand and chemicals underground to create fractures in rock formations to release hydrocarbons buried within them. Environmentalists warn that the chemical makeup of the fluid that is pumped into the ground could contaminate groundwater and release harmful pollutants, such as methane, into the air.   

"The Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act" by Rep. Ray Rodriquez, R-Estero, would require the state Division of Resource Management to set up an online chemical registry for owners and operators of wells, service companies, and suppliers that use hydraulic fracturing.

The bill also requires the information to be posted on the web site, FracFocus.org, an online clearinghouse run by the Groundwater Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Rodriques said the bill, HB 743, is neither a pro-fracking or anti-fracking. “It’s a transparency bill,” he said. A similar measure is moving in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. 

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