Call to Action: Ban Fracking in Florida: CRITICAL

Guest blogger today

This is from my friend Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson.

Call to Action: Ban Fracking in Florida: CRITICAL, please share…
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 1:30 pm in Tallahassee.
Please make phone calls or attend Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.
Frack bill, SB 1582 will allow well operators to hide the chemicals they use from the public.

Frack bill, SB 1468 will allow industry to get permitted water for each and every “high pressure well stimulation” at a time when, all over the state, we are grappling with our water supply.

Please call the Committee members below to urge them to vote NO on the bills. At this moment, phone calls are better than a mass email. Please take a few minutes to reach out to them.
SB 1582 – Pub. Rec./High-pressure Well Stimulation Chemical Disclosure Registry by Senator Richter.
Talking points:

If this bill becomes law, Floridians will not be able to find out about the worst chemicals frackers inject through their aquifer because they’ll be kept secret.
 There is no federal protection available under the Clean Water Act (which deals with surface waters) or the Safe Drinking Water Act which was amended to exclude fracking from its definition of “underground injection” in the 2005 Energy Policy Act thanks to VP Cheney’s Energy Task Force (§ 300h(d)(1)(B)(ii))
SB 1582 disguises its true intention by claiming to be about preventing one business from stealing “proprietary business information” (trade secrets) from another. In reality it is designed to gut the disclosure provisions of the bill it is linked to, SB 1468 titled Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources, also by Senator Richter.

The bill does an end run around the public interest by misappropriating the rationale for trade secrets for its true purpose of avoiding public scrutiny. 
SB 1582 is similar to the relevant parts of an ALEC model bill that can be seen here: http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/the-disclosure-of-hydraulic-fracturing-fluid-composition-act/

The ALEC bill includes the disclosure and trade secrets language in one bill, but the Florida version requires two bills because of Florida’s Constitutional requirement that public records exemptions be in a stand-alone bill.
 Here’s why the oil and gas industry wants “proprietary business information” (trade secrets) confidential. Well operators can mark the most toxic chemicals as proprietary and DEP is bound to keep them secret. If someone requests the information DEP has to tell the well operator of the request and they get ten days to go to court to get an order barring disclosure of the information. The judge has to follow what is in statute in making a determination whether it truly is “proprietary business information” or not. The outcome is a foregone conclusion because the bill defines it in statute and the judge will always have to issue an order banning disclosure.

From the text of SB 1582:
71 Section 2.

The Legislature finds that it is a public

72 necessity that proprietary business information, as defined in

73 s. 377.24075(1)(a)-(e), Florida Statutes, and relating to high

74 pressure well stimulations, submitted to the Department of

75 Environmental Protection as part of a permit application or held

76 by the department in connection with the online high pressure

77 well stimulation chemical disclosure registry, be made

78 confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes,and

79 s. 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. Proprietary

80 business information must be held confidential and exempt from

81 public records requirements because the disclosure of such

82 information would create an unfair competitive advantage for

83 persons receiving such information and would adversely impact

84 the service company, chemical supplier, or well owner or

85 operator that provides chemical ingredients for a well on which

86 high pressure well stimulation are performed. If such

87 confidential and exempt information regarding proprietary

88 business information were released pursuant to a public records

89 request, others would be allowed to take the benefit of the

90 proprietary business information without compensation or

91 reimbursement to the service company, chemical supplier, or well

92 owner or operator.

As long as a well operator follows those simple instructions, no member of the public will ever find out what is being injected into their drinking water supply.  And if they don’t know about it they can’t try to do anything about it.
…and about water supply, from the text of SB 1468:
10 amending s. 377.24, F.S.;

11 requiring that a permit be obtained before the

12 performance of any high pressure well stimulation;

13 specifying that a permit may authorize single or
14 multiple activities; amending s. 377.241, F.S.;
1

5 requiring the Division of Resource Management to give

16 consideration to and be guided by certain additional

17 criteria when issuing permits; amending s. 377.242,

18 F.S.; authorizing the department to issue permits for

19 the performance of high pressure well stimulation;

20 clarifying provisions relating to division inspection;

21 amending s. 377.2425, F.S.; requiring an applicant or

22 operator to provide surety that performance of a high

23 pressure well stimulation will be conducted in a safe

24 and environmentally compatible manner 
In Florida, because of the nature of our Floridan aquifer and karstic soils, high pressure stimulation must not be allowed.

Our over-permitted water supply in Florida is a constant threat to our rivers, springs, lakes, agriculture, and drinking water supply. Permitting high pressure stimulation using much more than 100,000 gallons per frack, historically in other states the industry use between 1 million and 8 million gallons each frack job, will certainly strain our water supply even more, while each event contributes considerably to polluting our aquifer.
 The Water Management Districts have not even been brought into these discussions about fracking in our state. As a result of the excessive water demands, water managers must be a part of this permitting.

Please call these members’ offices today. Be polite, but make sure they know this is just plain wrong.
Thank you for Acting!
 Below are Senators’ phone numbers and suggested language:
 Senator ____
Please vote NO on these bad bills: Senate Bill 1468 and 1582 (and companion bills, HB 1205 and HB 1209). These bills would would allow hydraulic fracturing or fracking to be permitted in Florida with meaningless regulations therefor allowing industry to explore our lands even more, permit excessive water demands, contribute to pollution in our great watery state and strip local rule for counties (as seen in HB 1205, line 30).
 There is no safe fracking, we are calling for an outright ban on fracking Florida.
 I am opposed to the practice of fracking and I do not want it to be allowed in my state. I treasure my water, environment, my health and wildlife: fracking destroys all that and our way of life in this beautiful state. Please support SB 166 (and HB 169) to ban fracking. Please put SB 166 on your committee’s agenda.
Thank you and I hope you will protect and defend the people of Florida.
 Senator Phone Numbers

Charles Dean, Chair (R) 
850-487-5005

Wilton Simpson, 
Vice Chair (R) 
850-487-5018

Thad Altman (R)
850-487-5016

Greg Evers (R)
850-487-5002

Alan Hays (R)
850-487-5011

David Simmons (R)
850-487-5010

Christopher Smith (D)
850-487-5031

Darren Soto (D), (Senate sponsor of SB 166, must be heard in committee!!)
850-487-5014

Food and Water Watch has provided the call in numbers for calls into Senators Dean and Gardiner to ask that they move SB 166 to be agendaed :

Senate President Andy Gardiner 855-969-5216

Senator Charles Dean Chair 877-247-1820

p.s.
please work toward getting our counties and cities to enact Resolutions to support a statewide ban on hydraulic/acid fracturing and high pressure well stimulation.
These bills, SB 1468 and SB 1582, must be “killed”!

Sincerely,

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson
 President, Our Santa Fe River

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