Following the announcement by Florida's newly-sworn in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that he is moving to ban fracking, an advocacy group called on new Democratic governors in other states to stand up for the climate as well as water safety and quickly follow suit.
DeSantis unveiled on Thursday an executive order—absent any mention of climate change—which included directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to "take necessary actions to adamantly oppose [...] hydraulic fracturing in Florida."
Calling fracking "an inherently dangerous process that threatens drinking water safety and human health wherever it occurs," Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said the new order prioritized "the health and safety of Floridians over corporate polluter profits." Moreover, Hauter said it's a move that should be emulated by other newly-minted Democratic governors.
"Gov. DeSantis's decision follows on the heels of another Republican governor's decision to ban fracking, when Gov. Larry Hogan did so in Maryland in 2017. DeSantis and Hogan, along with [Democratic New York] Governor Cuomo's ban on fracking in New York, exemplify the fact that common-sense environmental protections need not be a partisan issue. As the Trump administration and even many Democratic governors continue to double-down on oil and gas fracking," Hauter continued, "it is more important than ever that local and state leaders of both parties do all in their power to halt the fossil fuel extraction destroying our climate and poisoning our air and water."
To do that, Hauter argued, "New Democratic Governors Gavin Newsom of California, Jared Polis of Colorado, and incoming governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois should likewise move immediately to ban fracking in their states. Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania continues to fail his constituents and future generations by allowing fracking and dangerous pipeline buildouts that serve to lock in decades more of fossil fuel development."
"No one can talk about a Green New Deal while simultaneously supporting policies that include more drilling and fracking in their state," she added.
This is huge - Florida Governor announced he will #BanFracking, following bans in Vermont, New York, and Maryland. Dem Govs @GavinNewsom @GovernorTomWolf @jaredpolis and @JBPritzker need to step up and stop fracking, drilling, and pipelines in their states now! #GreenNewDeal https://t.co/ctXzGxA0Nt
— Mark Schlosberg (@mschlos) January 10, 2019
The executive order did draw cheers from "Gasland" director and anti-fracking activist Josh Fox, who called it "a huge win for grassroots activism."
— Josh Fox (@joshfoxfilm) January 11, 2019
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Biologist and anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber similarly offered a "toast to the relentless Sunshine State anti-fracking organizers with groundwater drawn from the vast but fragile Floridan Aquifer that underlies the entire damn state!"
BIG NEWS FROM TALLAHASSEE:
Florida on track to become the 4th state to ban #fracking!
A toast to the relentless Sunshine State anti-fracking organizers with groundwater drawn from the vast but fragile Floridan Aquifer that underlies the entire damn state! https://t.co/PmxL2JmMQR
— Dr. Sandra Steingraber (@ssteingraber1) January 10, 2019
The Trump-backed governor, for his part, said in a statement, "The protection of water resources is one of the most pressing issues facing our state. That's why today I'm taking immediate action to combat the threats which have devastated our local economies and threatened the health of our communities."
The issue has been the heart of environmental coalition Floridians Against Fracking's campaign efforts.
The coalition thus welcomed the executive order as a "bold step towards banning fracking," but noted that "there is still a way to go before this directive becomes a reality."
With that in mind, the coalition called on DEP to get a swift start on rule-making and to make certain no loopholes are inserted by demanding a ban on "all forms of fracking including hydraulic facturing, matrix acidizing, and acid fracking.