Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ALERT! Fracking Bill up Tomorrow Morning (Wednesday) - Calls Needed Now!

SB 1582, the public records exemption bill that lets frackers hide the chemicals they use from the public will be heard tomorrow (Wednesday, April 23) morning in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The bill was scheduled to be heard yesterday, but ran out of time. 

Please call members of the committee and urge them to vote NO on the bill.  Citizens should be able to know what threats they face to their health and safety in time to do something about it.  SB 1582 provides an easy way for well operators to claim confidentiality for the ingredients they inject into the ground.  The mere claim of confidentiality prevents DEP and FracFocus from disclosing the chemicals to citizens. 

If a member of the public asks DEP for the information they’ll have to wait up to 30 days while the well operator files an action in circuit court seeking a determination that the confidential information really is “proprietary business information” - a trade secret.  Then they’ll have to wait for the court date.  Then they’ll have to wait through any continuances or appeals because the language of the bill prohibits DEP from releasing the requested information ‘pending the outcome of the legal action.’

In any case the public will not know what ‘trade secret’ chemicals are used until they’ve already been used. The public will not be able to know what they are in advance, and therefore, won’t be able to act to protect themselves or their families.

The legal outcome is a foregone conclusion because the all a company has to do to qualify the ingredients as ‘proprietary business information’ is to show it meets the definition in the bill:
the information is owned or controlled by the company,
  • it’s intended to be private to protect the business’s interest
  • has not been disclosed except as required by law or by a private agreement that prohibits further disclosure (such as a licensing agreement)
  • is not publicly available through proper means
That’s a pretty low bar for companies to meet.

When you call members of the Appropriations committee to urge them to vote NO on 1582, be sure to thank Reps. Flores, Garcia, Hukill, Montford, Joyner, and Smith for voting against SB 1468, the fracking ‘regulation’ bill yesterday!

Senate Appropriations Committee 2015

Sen. Tom Lee, Chair
Consists of part of Hillsborough county
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, V. Ch.
Consists of parts of Charlotte, Lee counties
Sen. Thad Altman
Consists of parts of Brevard, Indian River counties
Sen. Anitere Flores
Consists of part of Miami-Dade county
Sen. Don Gaetz
Consists of Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington counties and part of Okaloosa county
Sen. Bill Galvano
Consists of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee counties and parts of Charlotte, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee counties
Sen. Rene Garcia
Consists of part of Miami-Dade county
Sen. Denise Grimsley
Consists of Okeechobee county and parts of Highlands, Martin, Osceola, Polk, St. Lucie counties
Sen. Alan Hays
Consists of parts of Lake, Marion, Orange, Sumter counties
Sen. Dorothy Hukill
Consists of parts of Lake, Marion, Volusia counties
Sen. Arthenia Joyner
Consists of parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas counties
Sen. Jack Latvala
Consists of part of Pinellas county
Sen. Gwen Margolis
Consists of part of Miami-Dade county
Sen. Bill Montford
Consists of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla counties
Sen. Joe Negron
Consists of parts of Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie counties
Sen. Garrett Richter
Consists of parts of Collier, Lee counties
Sen. David Simmons
Consists of Seminole county and part of Volusia county
Sen. Christopher Smith
Consists of part of Broward county