National News

Florida's next governor will most likely oppose fracking

Posted July 8, 2018 6:07 p.m. EDT

The major candidates to be Florida's next governor have found common ground, underground: They all oppose fracking.

Congressman Ron DeSantis confirmed to an environmental advocacy group, the Food & Water Action Fund, on Monday that he was against the practice. The group provided video of the exchange to the Times/Herald.

"Thank you so much for supporting the ban on drilling offshore," said Ginger Goepper, a volunteer with the group, who spoke to DeSantis after Monday's campaign event with Sean Hannity in Tampa. "Do you also support a ban on fracking in Florida?"

"Yes," DeSantis replied emphatically.

Previous statements to both news media and the advocacy group have put the other major candidates for governor also on the record as being against fracking, including the five top Democrats and DeSantis' Republican opponent, Adam Putnam.

"We don't need to be fracking in Florida," Putnam said in an earlier conversation with Goepper, also after a campaign event. Putnam added that he is also against offshore drilling because Florida needs "to protect our beaches."

The Florida Legislature has considered fracking bans in the past but they have never had enough support to pass it into law.

Fracking, technically called "hydraulic fracturing," is the practice of drilling underground and then injecting pressurized liquid into the rock to force it to release oil and gas, which has worried environmentalists over its potential to contaminate groundwater.

Nelson won't say when he'll debate

Rick Scott on Tuesday reiterated calls for debates with Sen. Bill Nelson, but the Democrat won't agree to any, yet.

"We said we were looking forward to debating Scott and would announce a schedule later this summer," campaign spokesman Carlie Waibel told the Tampa Bay Times.

Scott called on Nelson to accept at least three debates: Telemundo 51 Miami, the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and WJXT Channel 4 and CNN. (Dates have not yet been announced.)

Scott's new ad: 'Nelson toes party line'

Gov. Scott's campaign released its latest TV ad Thursday, portraying Sen. Nelson as a reliable Democratic vote.

"How much does Bill Nelson toe the party line? Nelson voted with Hillary Clinton 89 percent … With Obama, 98 percent …," a narrator says.

The ad attempts to undercut one of Nelson's go-to selling points, that he is a common-sense politician who can cross party lines. Nelson is a reliable party vote -- like Scott assuredly would be if elected -- but scorecards over the years have shown he's less fixed than some Democrats.

Scott's campaign did not say how much money is behind the ad. He's already spent millions compared with almost nothing from Nelson, though the Democrat has received outside help.