Dear Friends of Florida’s Waters:
This is just a quick update on the two bad fracking bills that were heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservaton on Tuesday. First of all, thank you to everyone who contacted the senators on this committee. Many of you copied me on the excellent letters you wrote and I thank you for that. I always love to get copies of your letters, no matter how short, simple, long, complex, etc.
In a nutshell, there were about 200 of us there (that’s a rough guesstimate) and the testimony was excellent. I think there was only one person who spoke in favor of the bill other than DEP of course – who stood there lying and contradicting herself. Senator Soto tried to offer some amendments that would have made the industry-backed bills somewhat less agregious. The committee would not even consider them. The final vote was along party lines 6-2. I’ll editorialize on that below, after I get to the important part of this message.
The two bills part company now and go to different committees, so there are more people to contact. Here’s the list that was provided by Amalie Datz:
Table 1 Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government
SB 1468 Fracking Permitting
|Senator||Phone number / Zip Code||Counties they represent||Springs|
|Chair Alan Hays (R)firstname.lastname@example.org||1. 487-5011Umatilla 32784
The Villages 32159
|Lake, Marion, Orange, Sumter||Alexander, Rainbow, Silver, Rock ,Gum, Wekiwa|
|Vice Chair OscarBraynon (D)email@example.com||1. 487-5036Miami Gardens 33169||Broward, Miami-Dade||None (Everglades)|
|Thad Altman (R)firstname.lastname@example.org||1. 487-5016Cape Canaveral 32920
|Brevard, Indian River||None (Indian River)|
|Charles Dean (R)email@example.com||1. 487-5005Inverness 34450
|Baker, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union, Marion||Homosassa, Santa Fe, (Steinhatchee River Rise) Devils Eye, Hart, Ginnie, Otter, Rock Bluff, Convict, Fanning, Manatee, Wekiva, Ichetucknee, Peacock, Worthington,|
|Tom Lee (R)firstname.lastname@example.org||1. 487-5024Brandon 33511||Hillsborough||Eureka, Lithia, Sulphur|
|Gwen Margolis (D)email@example.com||1. 487-5035Miami 33137||Miami-Dade||None (Everglades)|
|Wilton Simpson (R)firstname.lastname@example.org||1. 487-5018New Port Richey 34656 Brooksville
|Hernando, Pasco, Sumter||Weeki Wachee, Crystal,|
Table 2 Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee
SB 1582 Public Records / Trade Secrets (MOST CRITICAL TO Kill)
|Senator / email||Phone number all (850) areacode/ Zip Code||Counties|
|Chair Jeremy Ring (D)Ring.Jeremy.email@example.com||(850) 487-5029Margate 33063||Broward|
|Vice Chair Alan HaysHays.firstname.lastname@example.org||(850) 487-5011Umatilla 32784
The Villages 32159
|Lake, Marion, Orange & Sumter|
|Dwight BullardBullard.email@example.com||(850) 487-5039Cutler Bay 33189||Hendry, Monroe, Collier & Miami-Dade|
|Jack Latvalalatvala.firstname.lastname@example.org||(850) 487-5029Margate 33063||Pinellas|
|John Legglegg.email@example.com||(850) 487-5017Lutz 33548||Hillsborough & Pasco|
Neither of the two bad fracking bills are scheduled yet, but please go ahead and send your messages now. We may not get much advance notice.
NOW FOR MY SHORT EDITORIAL COMMENT TO YOU:
I know that there was disappointment that our elected officials could take action in the face of so much public opposition to do something that is clearly bad for Florida and our waters. The obvious question is, “what is wrong with these people?”
If you watch a variety of bills as they move through the process, you will see that the environment is not alone in being under attack. It almost appears that the only bills that are being addressed are the ones that have an extreme agenda: fracking; guns on campus; women’s reproductive rights; adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples; and the list goes on and on. And of course Amendment 1 is getting a lot of attention because our legislators are also clearly thumbing there noses at the Constitutional Amendment requirements and are refusing to dedicate an appropriate amount of funding for land acquisition as is required by law now.
Even though these extreme and destructive bills are infuriating and discouraging, we CANNOT ALLOW THE IDEOLOGUES, who are very uncompromising and dogmatic to steal our vision, our energy and our commitment from us. That is exactly what they want. Yes they fought dirty (using copious amounts of corporate money) to get elected and take the power they now wield so recklessly. So we have to fight harder and smarter to take it back. We can do that if we don’t allow them to discourage us. They may win a battle here and there, but they WILL NOT WIN the war.
The voters of Florida are going to realize sooner rather than later what is at stake here and they are going to get more focused and more selective about to whom they give their power. This will happen. We have to stay focused and keep educating the people around us about what these extreme, corporate-owned, ideologues are doing to our state.
And if you get snubbed, disrespected or rebuffed by these so-called, “leaders” in our government, don’t let it bother you. They treat everyone who doesn’t fall in line with their extreme agenda with the same disrespect that they treat us. They disrespect people, their environment and many of our fundamental freedoms because they disrespect themselves. They are self-serving, shallow minded and morally bankrupt individuals who used devious means to catapult themselves into power. They are now showing their true colors and it is our job to expose their actions to people who would otherwise be uninformed and unbothered by the undermining of the fabric of the civil society that we rely on in America.
SO, PLEASE DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!!! Be motivated, activated and keep pushing for what is right. We will prevail eventually if we stay focused and keep moving forward. The only way we can fail is if we quit trying. We will not do that!!! If you need a personal pep-talk, call or email me and I will help you get over the hump of discouragement.
So make those calls and be sure to spread the word about how your elected officials are voting – good and bad. Let the voters know so they can do a better job of voting next time.
I’ll write again soon. If you are on Facebook, please watch for daily (several times a day) updates on our two Facebook pages: Florida Clean Water Network and Clean Water Network of Florida. Also check our website regularly: www.floridacleanwaternetwork.org
Thank you again for all that you do for Florida’s waters.
Linda Young, Executive Director