Sunday, March 22, 2015

ALERT! Fracking Disclosure Exemption in Committee 8 AM, Tuesday

A fracking bill that will allow well operators to hide the chemicals they use from the public will be heard in the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.  Please call the Committee members below to urge them to vote NO on the bill.  Phone calls are better than a mass email.  Please take a few minutes to reach out to them. 

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))
  •        HB 1209 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, HB 1205 titled Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources, also by Rep. Rodrigues.
  •       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
  •       HB 1209 is similar to the relevant parts of an ALEC model bill that can be seen here:   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 HB 1209 
53           (b) Proprietary business information relating to high-
54 pressure well stimulations held by the department in connection
55 with the online high-pressure well stimulation chemical
56 disclosure registry, are confidential and exempt from s.
57 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution if the
58 person submitting such information to the department:
59           1. Requests that the proprietary business information be
60 kept confidential and exempt.
61           2. Informs the department of the basis for claiming that
62 the information is proprietary business information.
63           3. Clearly marks each page of a document or specific
64 portion of a document containing information claimed to be
65 proprietary business information as "proprietary business
66 information."

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.

Please call these members' offices today.  Be polite, but make sure they know this is just plain wrong.
Thank you for Acting!

House Government Operations Subcommittee 2015
Rep. Michael Bileca, Chair          850-717-5115 
Rep. David  Santiago, V. Chair   850-717-5027 
Rep. Jason Brodeur                       850-717-5028 
Rep. John Cortes                            850-717-5043 
Rep. Jay Fant                                   850-717-5015 
Rep. Blaise Ingoglia                       850-717-5035 
Rep. Edwin Narain                         850-717-5061 
Rep. Marlene O'Toole                  850-717-5033 
Rep. Kevin Rader                           850-717-5081 
Rep. Ken  Roberson                      850-717-5075 
Rep. Jimmie Smith                         850-717-5034 
Rep. Dwayne  Taylor                     850-717-5026 
Rep. Ritch  Workman                    850-717-5052 ,,,,,,,,,,, ,