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Environmentalists continue fighting fracking

In this March 29, 2013, file photo, workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation outside Rifle, in western Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
In this March 29, 2013, file photo, workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation outside Rifle, in western Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Environmentalists fought tooth and nail this year against the controversial procedure known as fracking.

Environmentalists said fracking is too risky for the state because of the possibility that chemicals can get into Florida’s drinking water.

Anti-fracking groups became a familiar sight at Florida’s Capitol for the past two months. Armed with what they said was contaminated water from other states, the advocates against the controversial practice railed against proposals to regulate it statewide.

A proposal studying fracking and allowing the state to regulate it ultimately failed.  Sen. Garrett Richter said Florida is no better off today because of it.

"Oil companies can come into Florida as they could last year and the year before and the year before when the Hughes company came to Collier County and they can frack," Richter said. "All my bill would have done is put a regulatory framework in place.”

But environmental lawyer David Guest said the bill would have ignored around 60 local resolutions passed around the state banning fracking.

“What that bill did is trump the power of local governments to protect the health of their residents by making it so that fracking could be authorized by the state and nobody could say anything about it,” Guest said.

Environmentalists declared victory for 2016, but they said the fight isn’t over

“I think they’ll try and bring it back next year, and I think the Department of Environmental Protection will look at rules,” Guest said.

Conventional fracking last happened in the state in 2003, but acid fracking happened in Collier County in 2013. The state’s DEP ordered a cease and desist order out of groundwater contamination fears because of it.