The Florida League of Cities is dropping its opposition to a highly controversial fracking bill after Republican sponsors and their industry allies agreed to give local officials some say over where oil and gas drilling could occur.
League lobbyist Rebecca O’Hara says finding a compromise wasn’t easy.
“It is the product of several weeks, or I would say months of negotiations over how to craft that balance to define where those areas of local government regulation begins and ends and we believe this language gets us there.”
O'Hara stresses that the League has no formal position on fracking and has been devoting its efforts to the so-called "preemption" issue.
It’s not crystal clear how much power local governments would have. Cities could pass zoning ordinances as long as the ordinance doesn’t, “inordinately burden,” the driller. The bill would still prohibit local governments from banning fracking outright, as Bonita Springs did this summer.
Scores of other local governments have passed anti-fracking resolutions.
The House is expected to debate the bill later today. A Senate version is working its way to the floor.
Both bills are moving despite heavy opposition from environmentalists and community activists who jam every committee meeting.