Group calls for fracking ban during march in St. Augustine

A group marched through St. Augustine Saturday urging state leaders to ban fracking in Florida.

The practice involves drilling underground and injecting water and chemicals into rock to release oil and natural gas.

A bill to ban fracking statewide died for a second time in the Florida legislature this year.

“We’re stewards of the earth. That’s our jobs, we’re supposed to protect what God gave us,” Wendy Collins said.

Collins drove from Jacksonville to participate in Saturday’s March.

Among those in attendance was Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk.

She is concerned that the chemicals used in fracking could threaten Florida’s already burdened water supply.

“Since the terrain is so porous down there, if we start injecting it into the ground, it’s only a matter of time before it gets into our drinking water,” she said.

The march ended with a demonstration at St. Augustine City Hall and was one of several rallies that have gone on throughout the state.

Organizers told Action News Jax that they wanted to send state leaders a message that the future should be focused on renewable resources.

Attendees wrote notes to representatives that organizers said will be carried to Tallahassee in a replica of a fracking well.

“We’re fighting for this ban now rather than waiting until industries truly push the practice into our state and the damage is irreversible,” organizer Nick Famularo said.

Many gubernatorial candidates have said they oppose fracking.

Fracking advocates say it can be done safely and could help increase domestic energy production while lowering costs of fuel.

Some representatives have said they would like to see a moratorium and studies about fracking's potential effects rather than an outright ban.