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Senate President Won't Commit To Fracking Ban


Senate President Joe Negron is getting high marks from environmentalists for his campaign to clean up Lake Okeechobee runoff, but the Port St. Lucie Republican isn’t willing, at least yet, to ban hydraulic fracturing in Florida.

Environmentalists were ecstatic when Negron called this summer for a multi-billion-dollar reservoir south of the Lake to prevent toxic algae blooms in his native Treasure Coast and Southwest Florida.

Antifracking forces also took comfort when Negron voted against an industry backed bill last year. But when asked if he supports an outright ban, Negron says he wants to see the bill. 

“My position is really reflected by the vote that I took in appropriations last year, in the appropriations committee. I wasn’t comfortable that the bill being offered had the necessary protections of the environment, of the water supply.”

The industry bill would have opened the door to fracking in Florida and it passed the House before dying in Senate Appropriations.

This year, Republicans in both chambers are promising to file fracking bans, and Rethink Energy Florida founder Kim Ross considers that progress. Even if Negron isn’t offering full-throated support, she notes he’s not opposing the move either.

“Overall, I think it’s a good sign. You know, in the end, conservative and conservation have the same root.”

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.