Friday, October 30, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Fracking Bill up in Committee Next Tuesday


A Texas gas drilling rig
By Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)

HB 191 - Regulation of Oil and Gas  by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, will be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee next Tuesday, November 3 at noon.  Please contact the members of the committee to urge them to vote NO on this bill.  Also, contact your personal Representative and Senator and urge them to stop the bills permitting fracking.   Committee member contact information is below. 

There are currently six fracking bills filed this year.  A brief explanation of each is included at the bottom of this alert.  Please take a minute to go through it so you’ll know which are good, which are bad, and which legislators are behind them.  (The sponsor of the bad bill HB 191 - the subject of this alert, is Rep. Rodrigues (with an ‘s’) who could easily be confused with Rep.Javier Rodriguez (with a ‘z’) the sponsor of a good Constitutional amendment to ban fracking, e.g.)

     House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee 2016

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. Larry Lee                    850-717-5084

Rep. Ray Pilon                    850-717-5072

Rep. Jimmie Smith             850-717-5034

Rep. Cyndi Stevenson         850-717-5017

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan         850-717-5031

Rep. Clovis Watson             850-717-5020

Emails to copy and paste:,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Talking Points

Fracking imposes unnecessary and unacceptable risks on the residents of Florida.  The tremendous use of water that is forever lost due to contamination, the risk of contaminating our aquifers, and the continuing contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere posed by fracking and burning natural gas is unconscionable when energy efficiency and renewable energy offer a clean and safe alternative. 

HB 191:

  • Completely preempts anything to do with oil or gas to the state, including: exploration, development, production, processing, storage, or transportation.  The preemption would apply to existing ordinances as well as prohibiting the adoption of new ones.
  • Uses a definition for “high-pressure well stimulation” that exempts the fracking activities most likely to be used in Florida from any regulation because those techniques, acid fracturing and acid matrix stimulation, are performed at lower pressure and are thereby excluded from the definition in the bill.  These are the techniques most often used in limestone and dolomite geological areas like Florida
  • Exposes municipalities to all oil and gas exploration and production activities inside city limits, (not just fracking) regardless of local government’s wishes by eliminating a provision in current law that permits can only be issued if the governing body of the city passes a resolution in favor of the oil/gas activity,
  • Provides that permits will be issued as soon as rulemaking is complete regardless of what a study required by the bill may reveal,
  • Designates FracFocus as the official chemical disclosure registry while preventing citizens from knowing what is being injected into the ground beneath their feet by use of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Backers of the bill tout it as being a moratorium (a delay before fracking permits are issued.)  Permits won’t be issued right away, but they will be issued as soon as the rulemaking process is complete. And all of the other bad policy in the bill will be effective immediately. The preemption, the vulnerability of cities that oil/gas operators may want to drill in, and of course, the definition of “high-pressure well stimulation” that excludes the most likely methods of fracking for Florida from new regulation will all take effect on Day One.  No new regulations or permitting will be put in place for acid fracturing or acid matrix stimulation and the potential for contamination will occur regardless of whether or not “high-pressure well stimulations” permits are being issued.  The broad preemption language will prevent localities from doing anything about it, and the Trade Secrets provision will prevent residents from finding out what toxic chemicals they may be exposed to.

The bill calls for a study, but only of “high-pressure well stimulation.”  And there is no provision for delay or a change in direction if the study turns up a threat to public health - fracking permits get issued when rulemaking is complete.

Water Use:


  • Oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of 652 different products used hydraulic fracturing. Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and Energy, Minority Staff Report, 2011
  • Flowback from fracking wells can contain radioactive materials from deep under the earth.
  • 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 higher

Trade Secrets:

  • HB 191 lets well operators claim the chemicals they use are “trade secrets” which means residents, first responders, and medical personnel cannot find out what they are dealing with.  All that is necessary to claim “trade secret” protection is to say the secret is valuable to the well operator and that the well operator is trying to keep it a secret.  688.002 (4) Florida Statutes

    Health Impacts:

The New York State Department of Health report states under ‘Health outcomes near HVHF (high volume hydraulic fracturing)Activity:

  • One peer-reviewed study and one university report have presented data indicating statistical associations between some birth outcomes (low birth weight and some congenital defects) and residential proximity of the mother to well pads during pregnancy (Hill, 2012; McKenzie, 2014). Proximity to higher-density HVHF well pad development was associated with increased incidence of congenital heart defects and neural-tube defects in one of the studies (McKenzie, 2014).

Fracking legislation filed for 2016 session:

Good Anti-fracking bills:

There are two bills to ban fracking by statute:

SB 0166 Oil and Natural Gas Production or Recovery  by Sen. Soto has been referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Commerce and Tourism; Community Affairs; Fiscal Policy

HB 0019 Well Stimulation Treatments by Rep. Jenne has been referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee; Energy and Utilities Subcommittee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

There are also two good Joint Resolutions to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban fracking in the state:

SJR 0358 Hydraulic Fracturing  by Sen. Ring has been referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Judiciary; Rules.

A similar Joint Resolution has been filed by Rep. Javier Rodriguez (with a ‘z’) -

HJR 0453 Well Stimulation by Rep. Rodriguez (with a ‘z’) but has not yet been referred to  committees.

The legislature can place proposed amendments to the state constitution without getting any petitions signed.  The only requirement is that the Resolution proposing the amendment get a 3/5ths vote in each chamber.  (It would also need the approval of 60% of the voters to be adopted.)

Bad Pro-fracking bills:

HB 0191 Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources by Rep. Rodrigues (with an ‘s’) has been referred to to Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee.  (It is the bill up in Agriculture and Natural Resources on Tuesday, November 3.)

SB 0318 Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources by Sen. Richter has been referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations.

This year the pro-fracking sponsors have not filed separate ‘trade secrets’ bills and are relying on the process already in statute in Chapter 688 to protect them from having to disclose what toxic chemicals they are injecting into the ground.