Fracking investment bill could undo court ruling

FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. The oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," mobilizes thousands around the country both for and against the process, industry and some environmental. Hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and natural gas has not caused widespread harm to drinking water in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday in a draft report. The report found several specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells and improper wastewater management affected drinking water resources. But it said the number of cases was small compared to the large number of wells that use hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. The controversial drilling technique could affect drinking water if safeguards are not maintained, the report said. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida power companies may soon be able to charge customers to fund out-of-state fracking projects under a measure that is moving ahead in the Florida Legislature.

A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill (SB 1238) that would undo a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that said companies are overstepping their authority in doing so. Power companies defended their push for the measure, saying it would save customers money when natural gas prices increase.

The bill’s passage happened over the objections of customers and environmental groups, who say such legislation would be a “disinvestment on renewable energy” and would increase the state’s reliance on natural gas.

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