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Natural gas investments plan flames out

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A controversial proposal that would have allowed electric utilities to invest in natural-gas drilling projects and recoup the money from customers died Friday night as lawmakers finished most of their work.

The Senate version of the bill (SB 1238), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, was positioned for a potential vote but was not taken up.

The proposal was backed by Florida Power & Light but drew opposition from environmental groups.

It was filed in the Senate and House (HB 1043) after the state Supreme Court last year said the Public Service Commission exceeded its authority in approving an FPL plan to invest in a natural-gas project in Oklahoma.

Also dying quietly Friday was a proposal (SB 442), filed by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, that would have banned the oil- and gas-drilling practice known as fracking in Florida. The proposal passed only one Senate committee and was never heard in House committees.