Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fracking and Septage bills in State Affairs Thursday, Jan 21

Calls Needed TODAY to stop two bad bills that will be heard in State Affairs on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 9 am This is the last chance to stop these bills before they go to the floor:
  • HB 191 - Regulation of Oil and Gas  by Rep. Ray Rodrigues:
  • This bill uses a narrow definition of fracking to exclude the techniques most likely to be used in Florida from regulation and
  • wreaks havoc with Florida’s water through excessive and wasteful consumptive use
  • risks chemical pollution underground and/or at the surface
  • continues to enable the use of fossil fuels in a world impacted by GHG driven climate change, and
  • completely preempts local governments’ ability to protect their communities

HB 851 Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems by Rep. Brad Drake:  This bill repeals the prohibition on the land application of septage that small counties and septic tank pump-out haulers have had six years to prepare for.  During that time they’ve only worked to repeal the ban on this practice that threatens Florida’s waters.  55 of the 88 land application sites are in Florida’s Springs Protection Zone.  The ban was originally supposed to go into effect on January 1 of 2016, but was pushed back to June 30 of this year in last year’s budget.   In a year when legislative leaders are claiming credit for the water bill, is it painfully ironic that this bill is moving so quickly. 

Current regulation of land application does nothing to remove nutrients from septage that can find their way into the groundwater that supplies our springs

Please contact these members and urge them to reject both the fracking bill, HB 191, and the septage bill, HB 851.

State Affairs 2016

Rep. Matt Caldwell, Chair
Rep. Neil Combee, V. Chair
Rep. Ben Albritton
Rep. Michael Bileca
Rep. John Cortes
Rep. Travis Cummings
Rep. Reggie Fullwood
Rep. Brad Drake
Rep. Matt Gaetz
Rep. Tom Goodson
Rep. Shawn Harrison
Rep. Mike La Rosa
Rep. Amanda Murphy
Rep. Ray Pilon
Rep. Jake Raburn
Rep. Irving Slosberg
Rep. Dwayne  Taylor
Rep. Clovis Watson

Find your  legislators here:

Fracking 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)