Guest Blog: Rethink Florida’s 2017 Session Outlook

This guest blog was originally published by Rethink Energy Florida on their blog. Check out their site here. Florida’s 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7th at noon, and we are feeling quite optimistic about it! ReThink Energy Florida is better-prepared than ever to see our legislative agenda move, especially on the important issue of fracking in the State of Florida.Currently, good fracking-ban bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate. State Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) has filed SB 442 relating to Advanced Well Stimulation Treatment, and State Representative Mike Miller (R-Orlando) has filed an identical bill in the House, HB 451.We think it is especially noteworthy that the Sponsors and Co-sponsors of these bills represent a strongly bipartisan coalition of legislators. Clean water is not a partisan issue. We applaud these legislators who were willing to reach across the aisle and present concise and unambiguous fracking bans. Last year at this point in the legislative process, there were fracking ban bills filed that had no real chance of being heard in committee. Instead, regulatory bills that would have opened the door to fracking in Florida were poised to move quickly through the process. Fortunately, due to the statewide efforts of countless concerned citizens and the Floridians Against Fracking coalition, of which ReThink Energy Florida is a Steering Committee member, the regulatory bill was defeated in its third Senate committee. This action subsequently left the House version of the bill, which had moved rapidly and was passed on the House floor, without a companion bill to become law. This year we recognize our battle will be harder as it is easier to kill a bill, than to pass one. However, with such Senate leaders as President Pro Tempore Anitere Flores (R-Miami), and Appropriations Committee Chair Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) supporting the fracking ban, we feel confident and equipped to successfully move these fracking bans through the process.Our work at the Capitol alone will not be enough, and moving forward we will be needing a lot of help, specifically your help! A great way to have your voice heard is by attending this year’s Reclaiming Florida’s Future event on March 22. Floridians will be traveling to the Capitol to fight against fracking, and for clean water and clean, renewable energy. Sponsored trips are being coordinated across the state, and we encourage you to register and join us for a day of advocacy. We will also be hosting several call-in events where you can urge your elected officials to vote in favor of clean energy, and against dirty fossil-fuel extreme extraction methods like fracking.Make sure you are following our website and Facebook page for events and announcements that will let you take action to ban fracking in Florida, as well as to promote clean energy. Together, we can succeed in achieving energy independence in a healthier, more sustainable environment.Post by Brian Lee, President, ReThink Energy Action Fund

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