Friday, January 29, 2016

CALL TO ACTION: Weekend Rallies Against Fracking




Fracking bills are speeding through the legislature and are harmful to your water and your health. The bills, backed by the oil and gas industry, not only enable the dangerous drilling practice in places like the Everglades, but they would force local communities to accept it.

Take ActionResearch in other states shows that fracking has caused water contamination and air pollution, massive amounts of fresh water usage, and led to declining property values.

Ignoring overwhelming public opposition, HB191 by Rep. Rodrigues passed the full House of Representatives last week 73-45.

There is still time to stop this bill from becoming law by defeating its Senate companion SB 318.

Saturday afternoon, January 30, 2016 will be a Day of Action across Florida, so come out - and bring your friends - to tell your Senators "No Fracking Way" should they vote to pass SB 318!

The places, times, and point persons responsible for the rallies are below:
  1. Miami, FL: 3050 Biscayne Blvd (Outside Senator Margolis’s Office), SAT 4:45 PM EST. Point Person-Andrea Cuccaro at andrea@rethinkenergyflorida.org. Event facebook here.
  2. Orlando, FL: Constitution Green, SAT 4:00 PM EST. Point Person-Lisa Ray at lisa@rethinkenergyflorida.org       
  3. Tallahassee, FL: Cascades Park, SAT 12:30 PM EST. Point Person- Fran Sullivan-Fah and Others atadmin@rethinkenergyflorida.org. Event facebook here.
  4. Gainesville, FL: 530 West University Avenue (Outside Senator Bradley’s Office), SAT 4:00 PM EST. Point Person- Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson at merrilleeart@aol.com
  5. Tampa/St. Petersburg: Clayton Lake, on the corner of Vonderburg Drive and S Parsons Avenue in Brandon,MON 5:30 PM EST. Point Person- Michelle Allen at mallen@fwwatch.org.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

FRACKING ALERT! Call Your Legislator before 3 p.m. today

Fracking bill HB 191 will be on the floor for final passage in the House today, Wednesday, at 3:30 in the afternoon and your calls are needed.  

Tell your legislator to vote NO on the bill. 

Follow these instructions:

1. Find your State House rep at: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx Type your address and city into the form. It will be the first person shown. 
2. Call your Reps' Tallahassee (850) office. 
3. Tell the person answering (or leave a message) where you live and that you vote. Thank the Rep if he/she voted on amendments (see chart below). Tell him/her to vote NO on Fracking bill at 3:30 p.m. today.

The Update part of this alert is the chart below that shows how Representatives voted on amendments to the fracking bill Tuesday.  Find your Representative and thank them if they voted ‘Yes’ on these amendments.  Politely let them know you’re watching if they didn’t.

The Senate bill, SB 318 was heard in General Government Appropriations on Monday and passed on a 4-2 vote

These are the Senators’ votes:

Monday, January 25, 2016

Senate Fracking bill in committee TODAY - Call this morning!


The fracking bill by Sen. Richter, SB 318, will be heard in the Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday at 4 pm.  We can STOP this bill here.  Call the members of the committee and tell them to vote NO on SB 318.  They need to know how important this issue is to YOU, their constituents.  (Calls are more effective than emails.)  This is an election year and we are tracking every recorded vote on these bills.



Forward this email to everyone you know in their areas. 



Name
Area represented
Capitol phone
email
Sen. Alan Hays, Chair
parts of Lake, Marion, Orange, Sumter counties
850-487-5011
Sen. Oscar Braynon, V. Ch.
parts of Broward, Miami-Dade counties
850-487-5036
Sen. Thad Altman
parts of Brevard, Indian River counties
850-487-5016
Sen. Charlie Dean
Baker, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union counties and part of Marion county
850-487-5005
Sen. Tom Lee
part of Hillsborough county
850-487-5024
Sen. Gwen Margolis
part of Miami-Dade county
850-487-5035
Sen . Wilton Simpson
Hernando county and parts of Pasco, Sumter counties
850-487-5018






TALKING POINTS

·         The bill preempts local governments from regulating or banning fracking within their boundaries to protect the health of their citizens.  It prevents them from acting in self-defense

·         SB 318 uses a definition of fracking which it calls “high-pressure well stimulation”  (HPWS) that describes the fracking technique least likely to be used in Florida.  (Florida has a limestone and dolomite geology where lower pressure acidizing techniques are most likely to be used.)  So the bill ‘regulates’, and requires a study of a practice that won’t even be used here. 

·         Acid fracking, which injects many of the same toxic chemicals into the ground, is completely unaffected by the bill.  

·         Everything in the bill is tied to the extremely narrow definition of “high-pressure well stimulation”: the ‘regulations’, the permitting, the weak penalties, the study - everything.  But the preemption is GLOBAL.  It preempts ALL aspects of oil and gas from exploring for it, through producing it, to trucking it down the road, including all of the acidizing treatments that involve injecting toxic chemicals!

·         The bill has been amended to include a moratorium - but it only affects “high -pressure well stimulation, not acidization

·         The bill does not provide for baseline testing of groundwater, or ongoing water quality testing.

·         Fracking uses large volumes of water.  Some wells have used as much as 13 million gallons!  http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/hf-report20121214.pdf 

·         Flowback from fracking contains materials that must not be allowed to contaminate groundwater. https://fracfocus.org/hydraulic-fracturing-how-it-works/drilling-risks-safeguards

  • 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
  • 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.

·         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).


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
AND

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
850-717-5079
Rep. Neil Combee, V. Chair
850-717-5039
Rep. Ben Albritton
850-717-5056
Rep. Michael Bileca
850-717-5115
Rep. John Cortes
850-717-5043
Rep. Travis Cummings
850-717-5018
travis.cummings@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Reggie Fullwood
850-717-5013
reggie.fullwood@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Brad Drake
850-717-5005
Rep. Matt Gaetz
850-717-5004
Rep. Tom Goodson
850-717-5050
Rep. Shawn Harrison
850-717-5063
shawn.harrison@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Mike La Rosa
850-717-5042
Rep. Amanda Murphy
850-717-5036
amanda.murphy@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Ray Pilon
850-717-5072
Rep. Jake Raburn
850-717-5057
Rep. Irving Slosberg
850-717-5091
irving.slosberg@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Dwayne  Taylor
850-717-5026
dwayne.taylor@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Clovis Watson
850-717-5020


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:
Contaminants:
  • 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. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3915249/
  • 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)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Plastic Bags bill in Committee - Calls Needed!


Bags, bags and more bags.
Photo: 
John/Flickr/Creative Commons License
Sen. Bullard’s SB 0306 Disposable Plastic Bags will be heard in the Senate Environmental Protection and Conservation Committee on Wednesday, January 20th at 1:30 p.m.  This is the second week of session so there will be time to move the bill further in the process this year.
Please call committee members and urge them to vote YES for this good bill!  Be sure to thank Chairman Dean for putting the bill on the agenda.



                Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation 2015

Sen. Charles Dean, Chair          850-487-5005 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Wilton Simpson, V. Chair 850-487-5018 simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Thad Altman                     850-487-5016 altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Greg Evers                        850-487-5002 evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Alan Hays                         850-487-5011 hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Travis Hutson                   850-487-5006 hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. David Simmons                850-487-5010 simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Christopher Smith             850-487-5031 smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Darren Soto                      850-487-5014 soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov

 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov, simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov, altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov, evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov, hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov, hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov, simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov, smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov, soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov, What the bill does

SB 306 authorizes coastal municipalities with a population under 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban plastic bags.  The municipality would have to pass an ordinance establishing the pilot program by the end of this year that would start no earlier than Jan. 1, 2017 and would expire on June 30, 2019 (2 ½ years.)  During the pilot program the municipality would have to collect data relating to the impact of the regulation or ban, submit a report to the governing body of the municipality at a public hearing by April 1, 2019, and provide a copy of the report to DEP.

Talking points

  • Plastic bags create unsightly litter that can block stormwater drains.  Both of these problems cause unnecessary expense for local governments and taxpayer
  • They end up in water bodies where they foul the environment for wildlife.  Bags or pieces of bags are mistaken for food, especially when they are brightly colored and moving in water.   When they are ingested by animals they can choke them or cause blockages that can be fatal.
  • Plastic bags contribute to the plastic gyres in the world’s oceans and pose threats to ocean life.
  • They are made from non-renewable sources such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, and their manufacture creates greenhouse gases
  • They do not biodegrade because polyethylene is not recognized by microbes as food.  However, they do break down in sunlight into smaller and smaller synthetic granules that will remain in the environment (and interfere with the food web) for a long, long time.
  • Bringing your own bag is simple and inexpensive.  It’s the responsible thing to do!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Urgent! Call your legislator for clean water

Florida Chapter


Stop the pollution. Make the call.
Take Action
Take Action

Florida's beautiful lakes, rivers, springs and estuaries are in peril.

Please call your state legislators today and urge them to"support amendments to eliminate loopholes and deficiencies in the 2016 water bills," SB 552 by Sen. Dean and HB 7005 by Rep. Caldwell, that will be considered next week.

In December, Sierra Club Florida and other Floridians' Clean Water Declaration campaign coalition partners delivered a letter signed by 106 organizations and businesses to Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, calling for real protection of the state's imperiled waterways. The letter was also sent to all 160 of Florida's state legislators urging them to amend SB 552 and HB 7005. But we need your voice.

Call your state legislators now. (type in your address at this link to see the phone numbers for your state senator and representative.)

Deliver the Message: "Support amendments to eliminate loopholes and deficiencies in the 2016 water bills."


The bills as currently written do not satisfy the needs of our waters and neglect many opportunities to create water policies that serve the public's interest. Various regulated industries, agriculture, and their lobbyists are leading a retreat from protective policies and are instead relying on the same tools that have, for decades, failed Florida's citizens and our waters.

Sierra Club Florida and our allies have proposed these amendments to make the bills worth supporting. They fall into these categories: improving water quality, ensuring sufficient water for natural systems (including a focus on water conservation), springs protection, and making sure that tax dollars for water quality and/or quantity are used cost-effectively and in the public interest. If the amendments are rejected and the bills are passed as currently written the waters of the state will suffer for it.

These bills are not good enough. Florida's waters need more than halfway measures. Please contact your legislators and urge them to support these amendments when they come to the floor.
Call your state representative and senator now!

Thank you for taking action and for all you do for Florida's environment!

Dave Cullen

Lobbyist
Sierra Club Florida

FPL Vampires vs. Solar - the Miami Sierra Club in the King Mango Strut

Suns hold solar panels up to FPL Vampires in Miami parade on Dec. 27, 2015. Photo by Adair

The King Mango Strut is a satirical and light-hearted parody parade of major events throughout the year. Founded by Glenn Terry and Bill Dobson in 1982, it is held on the last Sunday of each year; this was its 34th annual hosting. The Miami Group has participated in the King Mango Strut for many years. Topics covered have ranged all the way from widespread sea level rise, to the RAM development project and endangered butterflies.

    This year, with Coky Michel as director and the inventive and talented skills of Amy Werba, Don, and other volunteers came up with a creative skit which illustrated the sun-stroked "FPL" Vampires vs. Solar Panel-Armed Suns.  Our performance made the only large photo in the Miami Herald print edition this year. The skit included vampires holding signs such as "your aquifer water is our life-blood", "solar is for sissies", and "solar power makes me cower", representing the battle that Floridians have been facing against FPL's anti-solar monopoly, the problem of freshwater evaporation from Turkey Point's cooling canals, and how only 1/10th of 1% of FPL energy comes from solar. The Suns, on the other hand, carried signs such as "a solar spill is called a nice day" and "solar's got the power" representing the lower volatility and potential solar energy has.

    The skit was repeated every 40 feet or so along the route so that all paradegoers experienced the full message.

    We sang "Here comes the sun, FPL!" to the tune of the Beatles' "Here comes the sun". Between the suns and the vampires were two suns carrying a casket with the words "Sunstroked Vampire" on each side, and a large sunbeam jutting out of the coffin lid. The main vampire would run and try to rescue his friend by removing the sunbeam, only to have suns carrying solar panels attack and defeat him and the rest of the vampires.

    Throughout 2015 the Miami Sierra Club has actively supported the Floridians for Solar Choice Petition. This proposed amendment to the Florida constitution, if approved by voters, would make allow people and businesses to sell the energy generated by their solar panels to neighbors and tenants.  More information on Floridians for Solar Choice can be found here: http://www.flsolarchoice.org/fact-fiction/

    In this year's King Mango Strut there were a number of groups making fun of well-known recent events. These ranged from the heart-wrenching Ms. Universe mixup to Sea Level Rise, and even included a specimen of Trump's brain. The parade was accompanied by live music, and had a fantastic turnout, which overflowed the sidewalks of downtown Coconut Grove.

Pictures and more to read about the King Mango Strut can be found here:
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article51834680.html

A video of part of our performance can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rruZww9_kg&feature=youtu.be

- Elizabeth Bonnell and Dany Garcia