TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida would have to establish regulations for fracking under a bill passed by the House, despite arguments that the oil and gas drilling practice could contaminate groundwater.
The House voted 73-45 on Wednesday for a bill that would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to study the impact of fracking and then write rules regulating it.
The drilling technique involves the injection of mass amounts of water along with chemicals under great pressure to fracture underground rock formations and release oil and gas.
Republicans supporting the bill said that fracking is already allowed under law and the bill simply makes sure it's done safely.
Democrats didn't buy that argument, saying the bill will only provide a stable environment for drillers to set up shop in Florida. They said blasting chemicals into the ground is too risky and the potential cost to the tourism industry isn't worth any economic benefit from fracking.