FACT CHECK: Nikki Haley Claims Ron DeSantis Banned Fracking And Off-Shore Drilling

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley claimed in a Sept. 27 tweet that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis banned fracking and off-shore drilling through executive orders.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

Florida voters voted for a constitutional amendment in 2018 that banned off-shore drilling in Florida’s state waters. While DeSantis has called for a ban on fracking and issued an executive order calling for the Department of Environmental Protection to oppose fracking and off-shore drilling, fracking still remains legal in Florida.

Fact Check:

Haley and DeSantis sparred with each other over fracking and off-shore oil drilling during the 2nd Republican presidential debate, according to The Hill. Haley later tweeted that DeSantis “issued executive orders BANNING fracking and offshore drilling in Florida” on his second day in office.

Haley’s claim removes context around DeSantis’s track record and how off-shore drilling was banned. Florida voters voted for a constitutional amendment that banned off-shore drilling and vaping in enclosed indoor workplaces in November 2018.

“To protect the people of Florida and their environment, drilling for exploration or extraction of oil or natural gas is prohibited on lands beneath all state waters which have not been alienated and Page 26 Words underlined are additions; words stricken are deletions that lie between the mean high water line and the outermost boundaries of the state’s territorial seas. This prohibition does not apply to the transportation of oil and gas products produced outside of such waters. This subsection is self-executing,” reads part of the amendment.

DeSantis campaigned in 2018 on pushing Florida’s legislature to ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, in the state and opposed off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. His campaign website said that he “has a proven track record in supporting measures to ban offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.” The website also states that “DeSantis will utilize his unique relationship with President Trump and his administration to ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines.”

“With Florida’s geological makeup of limestone and shallow water sources, fracking presents a danger to our state that is not acceptable. On day one, Ron DeSantis will advocate to the Florida Legislature to pass legislation that bans fracking in the state,” the website reads. (RELATED: 8 Claims From The 2nd Republican Primary Debate?)

Two days after he took office, DeSantis issued an executive order that ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to “[t]ake necessary actions to adamantly oppose all off-shore oil and gas activities off every coast in Florida and hydraulic fracturing in Florida.” DeSantis also called for a ban on fracking in March 2019, according to WTXL.

NPR reported in 2021 that DeSantis has been unable to get a fracking ban passed by the legislature and that Florida’s oil and gas industry does not use fracking “as a drilling method.” The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that “pre-approved fracking still occurs” in Florida. PolitiFact reported in October 2022 that the Florida legislature has not banned fracking despite several bills being proposed to ban the practice.

DeSantis said during a campaign stop in August 2023 that “[w]e have a constitutional amendment that does not allow offshore drilling. And so that’s something that we honor,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A Haley campaign spokesperson directed Check Your Fact to an article from Breitbart that said the claim DeSantis banned fracking was “true” even though fracking has not been banned in Florida. The spokesperson also directed Check Your Fact to an article showing DeSantis opposed drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

“DeSantis now says he supported the drilling and fracking bans because Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment banning drilling, but he supported those bans before the amendment passed. In addition, the voter ban did not include fracking, which he also opposed,” the spokesperson said in an email.

DeSantis campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin told Check Your Fact in an email that “desperate candidates need to get their facts straight.” (RELATED: Breaking Down Nikki Haley’s Claim About Ukraine Aid Spending)

“Desperate candidates need to get their facts straight. When he took office, the governor committed to protecting the Everglades while accelerating energy exploration and production across the state. Furthermore, an overwhelming number of Floridians voted to enact a constitutional amendment to limit offshore drilling prior to Governor DeSantis taking office. That is the law in Florida based on the will of the voters,” Griffin said.

Check Your Fact reached out to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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