Dear Friends of Florida’s Waters:
I would venture to say that every person who reads this is at least slightly concerned about the ever-increasing ways that government is intruding into our lives and excluding us from information about its encroachment. Have you considered how this is also done with pollution?
Tomorrow two committees in our Florida Legislature will vote on bills that will allow oil and gas drilling companies to inject toxic chemicals underground in Florida and then to keep the names of these chemicals a secret from us. Your employees (yes they are supposed to be working for us too!) at the FL-DEP support the legislation that will permit fracking and allow only DEP to know what toxic chemicals are being injected under the ground where they can migrate into our drinking water supplies. Pretty scary stuff.
If you have a problem with this, please attend the hearings or call/email the legislators below to let them know your thoughts on this matter. Here is an action alert on the issue from David Cullen:
SB 1582 Public Records/High-pressure Well Stimulation Chemical Disclosure Registry
by Sen. Richter will be heard in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee Tuesday, April 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Toxic chemicals used in fracking include carcinogens, Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Safe Drinking Water Act Regulated Chemicals.[i] There is insufficient information about their potential impacts to allow citizens to be kept in the dark[ii] through the inappropriate use of ‘proprietary business information’ statutes.
Please call committee members and urge them to vote no on this bad bill. Talking points are below:
Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee 2015
Sen. Jeremy Ring, Chair- Consists of part of Broward county
Sen. Alan Hays, V. Chair
Consists of parts of Lake, Marion, Orange, Sumter counties
Sen. Dwight Bullard
Consists of Hendry, Monroe counties and parts of Collier, Miami-Dade counties
Sen. Jack Latvala
Consists of part of Pinellas county
Sen. John Legg
Consists of parts of Hillsborough, Pasco counties
· SB 1582 would allow chemicals used in fracking to be hidden from the public behind “proprietary business information” (trade secrets) provisions and render public disclosure provisions in SB 1468 meaningless.
· SB 1582 will deprive citizens of critical information relating to their health and safety and hand the oil and gas industry a public relations triumph allowing them to say they provide disclosure when they can still keep secret whatever they choose.
· By inserting a specific definition of “proprietary business interest” into statute, the bill forces the outcome of any future court decision on public disclosure of fracking chemicals to be in the favor of the industry.
· The public interest basis for trade secret protection is to prevent unethical business practices, not to frustrate citizens trying to protect their health, safety, and property.
Depriving citizens of critical information relating to their health and safety is contrary to the public interest.
And also on Tuesday afternoon on the House side of the Capitol…
HB 1205 – Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources by Rep. Rodrigues, will be heard in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
This bill provides for weak permitting and regulation and wouldn’t even have applied to the fracking in Collier County in 2014. But even if it were a strong regulation bill, Floridians and visitors would still be put at risk needlessly.
Deepwater Horizon had permits and was under regulation yet eleven people died and untold environmental damage was done to the Gulf. Contaminating the aquifer Floridians depend on would be equally catastrophic.
Accidents happen and no technology is perfect. It’s time for Florida to turn to a clean energy economy that doesn’t pollute, creates jobs, and provides energy at a stable cost that doesn’t fluctuate with commodity prices.
Please call these members of the committee and urge them to vote NO on HB 1205.
House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee
Rep. Ben Albritton, Chair 850-717-5056 email@example.com
Rep. Ray Pilon, V. Chair 850-717-5072 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Doug Broxson 850-717-5003 email@example.com
Rep. Neil Combee 850-717-5039 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Travis Cummings 850-717-5018 email@example.com
Rep. Julio Gonzalez 850-717-5074 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kristin Jacobs 850-717-5096 email@example.com
Rep. Debbie Mayfield 850-717-5054 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Bobby Powell 850-717-5088 email@example.com
Rep. Jake Raburn 850-717-5057 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. José Rodríguez 850-717-5112 email@example.com
Rep. Jay Trumbull 850-717-5006 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Clovis Watson 850-717-5020 email@example.com
[i] Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing, US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Minority Report, April 2011
[ii] New York State Department of Health; A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development; December 2014
You may also want to remind the person you communicate with that you will be making sure that everyone you know is aware of how their legislators voted. This is too important for it to be a secret from anyone.
Friends, if the votes don’t go our way again, as we saw last week in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, chaired by Senator Charles Dean of Inverness, we will NOT get discouraged. We already know that the votes are likely to be along party lines, with the Republicans voting in favor of fracking and secrecy and the Democrats voting against fracking. At least we will have a record of their treachery. Right?
Then it will be our job to let everyone know what these Taliban-wannabe’s (extremist with destructive goals) are up to. And I’m not exaggerating. If you have been to the Capitol you know that it’s like walking through a hurricane of greed-driven chaos. Committee chairs such as Charles Dean rush through the crazy, extreme bills in a frenzy to get them passed with as little public input as possible. They don’t even try to disguise their annoyance that they have to hold these hearings where ordinary tax payers show up and expect to have their voices heard. That’s okay, we are annoyed by them too. They are even rude to their Democratic colleagues when they try to raise amendments to these polluter bills.
Please attend the meetings if you can. You will enjoy being in the company of many other like-minded citizens who care about a clean, safe environment and who believe in participatory democracy. You may even make some new friends like I did last week. If you can’t attend, them please make the calls or send the emails and give these legislators the opportunity to listen, even if they choose not to.
We are not totally dependent on their good graces. There is so much we can do in spite of their bad decisions and poor leadership. In fact, the more they refuse to listen to the people, the more people will get fired up and decide to join our efforts. I got a phone call this morning from an attorney who’s wife heard about the fracking issue at a garden club meeting last week. He wanted to know more. We had a good conversation and he said he would make the calls and his wife would attend the committee meeting tomorrow. Neither had ever heard of fracking before last week. My new friend that I met at the committee meeting last week was also a Newbie to the issue. There is no limit to the number of people that we can touch with our sincere desire to protect our resources.
If you live in or near Pensacola, I will be speaking on Sunday at Earth Day Pensacola on Sunday, April 12th from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Ever’mans Natural Foods Co-op about what we can all do to better protect our water resources. Complimentary lunch will be served by Ever’mans, so join us!!! RSVP’s are REQUIRED to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, April 8th.
Thank you one and all for your dedication and hardwork. The session is more than half over now and soon the lunacy will end. Until then, we must all work together to get our message out there in every way possible and to hold the elected people in Tallahassee responsible for everything they do and don’t do.
For all of Florida’s waters,
Linda Young, Executive Director
Florida Clean Water Network
P.O. Box 5124
Navarre, FL 32566