Orange County unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday to ban fracking — the controversial process of drilling down into the Earth to extract gas using high-pressured water and chemicals.
The resolution had had strong support after it was placed on the Orange County Commission's consent agenda for its meeting. Before commissioners voted, though, they turned to the public for input.
The language of the resolution is still being finalized.
"We want to protect our water and our air quality," said Dawn Kallio, who donned a black-and-white T-shirt with a strong message against fracking. "(It's) just a little way to do a little activism and spread the message that we are opposed to fracking in the state of Florida."
One by one, supporters of the county's proposed ban took to the podium to share their thoughts. Commissioners also discussed the resolution with a back-and-forth conversation about wording in certain paragraphs.
Discussions on fracking have made their way across the United States as well.
Fracking has garnered supporters, who have said it helps produce more oil and gas at home, which drive down those prices. Opponents say it's disastrous for the environment and produces health concerns for those living near drills sites.
At the state level, competing bills have been written in Florida.
Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) filed a bill in August that proposes a statewide fracking ban. He said he filed the bill to protect Florida's water supply and tourism industry.
"We're fighting to preserve what is a critical identity for our tourism industry," said Soto, who also attended Tuesday's meeting.
Competing bills include House Bill 191 and Senate Bill 318, which is being championed by Sen. Garrett Richter. That bill could give the state authority to regulate fracking and overrule local measures like the one taken up in Orange County.
Richter didn't reply to our request for a comment.
Kallio said she's pleased the resolution has passed, but she wants commissioners to take a firmer stance.
"I think I would've been a little bit happier had they passed it with the stronger language to the state asking them to put a moratorium on it," she said. "The water runs underneath the state. There's no way to shut off Orange County."
According to the Florida Association of Counties, 15 other Florida counties have voted to ban fracking.