Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fracking Bills in House Committee today … by David Cullen, Sierra Club

FYI- for those of you who are concerned about Fracking in FL, here are 2 bad
bills that you may want to express your opinion about, via telephone or

Two House Fracking bills will be heard in the Agriculture and Natural
Resources Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 17 at 12:30. Please call the members
of the committee Monday and urge them to vote NO!


HB 1205 - Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources
by Rep. Rodrigues, and

HB 1209 - Public Records/High-pressure Well Stimulation Chemical Disclosure
also by Rep. Rodrigues.

HB 1205 would require a permit and some regulation for “high pressure well stimulation” and HB 1209 would allow the chemicals used in fracking to be hidden behind “trade secrets” provisions. Overall, the bills are very little improved from last year and should not become law.

Regulation and permitting requirements DO NOT:

· ensure Florida’s aquifers will not be contaminated by toxic fracking
chemicals, hydrocarbons, or flowback containing radioactive materials
· keep burning gas from spilling CO2 into the atmosphere

Only leaving the dirty fuels in the ground can do that.

There is no need to use this extreme method of extracting gas in Florida.
Solar energy and energy efficiency can provide the power we need, and provide
jobs in the bargain without putting our state at risk. Permitting will only
benefit the fossil fuel industry that wants to shackle Florida’s businesses
and residents to an outmoded way of life. Fracking should be banned in
Florida and the transition to a clean energy economy should begin.

HB 1205 and HB 1209 are inextricably linked and must be evaluated in that

HB 1205 calls for disclosure of the volume of water and the chemicals injected
into the ground to frack wells, but provides that the information is kept
secret for a year if requested by the well operator [lines 365-367] Also, HB
1209 allows companies to withhold whichever chemicals they choose from
disclosure by claiming they are “trade secrets” and only a court can decide
otherwise. (Public records exemptions have to be in stand-alone bills and pass
by a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate; that’s why there are two
bills.) Therefore, the disclosure HB 1205 requires is not comprehensive and
residents will be deprived of information they need to protect their own

* Frackers are not required to report the chemicals they use until 60 days
after they start fracking (which the industry considers to be when they’ve
completed the drilling, including at least the preliminary horizontal
drilling). People need to know what is going to be put into the ground before
it’s injected if they’re to have any chance of acting to protect themselves.
* Local governments are preempted from adopting more protective ordinances.
* Frackers are not required to report chemicals that are injected into the
ground accidentally. This provision is a loophole without logic. If a
company puts a material into the ground, they should have to report it whether
it was on purpose or not. If the material was injected and the company didn’t
know about it, they should have the burden of proving they didn’t know, and
could not reasonably be expected to know, about the injection. If it’s their
well, they should be responsible for what’s in it.
* The legislature should impose a moratorium on any fracking in the state at
least until the EPA report on the impact of fracking on the drinking water
resource is completed and studied. There should also be a moratorium on
fracking until the study required in section 8 of the bill is completed and
* Citizens have no federal protection under the Safe Water Drinking Act
(Congress passed an exemption for fracking in 2005 (the Halliburton

The ‘Trade Secrets’ provisions in HB 1209 allow any company to merely mark any
chemical it submits to DEP as a ‘trade secret’. From that point on, DEP is
prohibited from releasing any information about the chemical to the public.
The company has to get a court to agree that the ‘trade secret’ actually is
one. But here’s the hook – the judge can only use what is in statute to
decide what constitutes a ‘trade secret.’ And the Florida Statutes consider
only ethical business practices in regard to ‘trade secrets.’ 812.081 (1)(c)
defines a ‘trade secret’ as something that is secret, that is of value, that
is for use or in use by the business, and that is an advantage to the
business. The court does not consider whether the trade secret is dangerous
to public heath.

* There should be complete transparency in disclosing the volume and identity
of fracking fluids, and full and robust public participation before any
fracking activity takes place. Without full disclosure, public participation
is frustrated since citizens won’t even know there’s a problem until it’s too
late. The interests of one industry cannot supersede those of entire

* There are legitimate concerns about fracking:
* Volume of water used and (up to 13 million gallons per well)
* Chemical mixing – spills and transportation accidents
* Injection of chemicals – migration to groundwater and mobilization of
subsurface materials into aquifer
* Flowback and produced water – spills, treatment, leaching, final
disposition of pits – and what happens to the 30% of the injected fluids that
are not returned to the surface?
* Wastewater treatment and waste disposal – contamination of surface and
groundwater, insufficient treatment, transportation accidents.

· The National Academy of Sciences discovered that homes within 1
kilometer (2/3 mile) were six times more likely to have six times more methane
in their drinking water than those farther away. Ethane levels were 23 times

· At least 29 dangerously toxic chemicals are used in 652 products for
fracking. They include carcinogens, hazardous air pollutants, and substances
regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act (except for fracking because of
the exemption).

Please call these member’s offices tomorrow (Monday) and urge them to vote NO
on HB 1205 and HB 1209

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee 2015

Rep. Tom Goodson, Chair 850-717-5050

Rep. Jake Raburn, V Chair 850-717-5057

Rep. Jim Boyd 850-717-5071

Rep. Neil Combee 850-717-5039

Rep. Brad Drake 850-717-5005

Rep. Bobby DuBose 850-717-5094

Rep. Katie Edwards 850-717-5098

Rep. Eric Eisnaugle 850-717-5044

Rep. Larry Lee 850-717-5084

Rep. Ray Pilon 850-717-5072

Rep. Jimmie Smith 850-717-5034

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan 850-717-5031

Rep. Clovis Watson 850-717-5020

jim.boyd@myfloridahouse.gov, neil.combee@myfloridahouse.gov,
brad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov, bobby.dubose@myfloridahouse.gov,
katie.edwards@myfloridahouse.gov, eric.eisnaugle@myfloridahouse.gov,
tom.goodson@myfloridahouse.gov, larry.lee@myfloridahouse.gov,
ray.pilon@myfloridahouse.gov, jake.raburn@myfloridahouse.gov,
jimmie.smith@myfloridahouse.gov, jennifer.sullivan@myfloridahouse.gov,

David Cullen



Anonymous said...

For whatever reason, I did not get this email until after 4pm. I never get it much before then.

I would have liked to have made calls as fracking is a close second, if not tied with off-shore drilling for polluting the environment.

Gale Dickert said...

Thank you Dave and your wonderful wife for being there every stop of the way trying to protect our FL waters. W must defeat these terrible bills!! I'm calling all!
You're the best!
Gale & John Dickert