Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sierra Club Florida praises statewide ban on fracking bill

Press Release

Contact David Cullen, cullenasea@aol.com or Jonathan Ullman, jonathan.ullman@sierraclub.org

Sierra Club Florida praises statewide ban on fracking bill
Bill sponsor Senator Dana Young listened to Floridians
Rep. Mike Miller files companion

Tallahassee, FL – Florida moved a giant step closer to outlawing all forms of the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” with the introduction of bills SB 442 and companion HB 451. The bills would bar hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing and matrix acidizing.

The Senate sponsor is Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) with co-sponsors Sens. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), Linda Stewart (D-Orlando), Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), and Gary Farmer (D-Broward Co.) The House bill is sponsored by Rep.  Mike Miller (R-Orlando) and co-sponsored by House Democratic Leader Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa).  The bipartisan support for this issue is in response to the overwhelming public opposition to fracking in the Sunshine State.

Woman holds sign saying
"Don't Frack me Bro."
Photo by Linda S. Jacobson, Flickr.
“We appreciate Senator Young giving us the opportunity to provide input during the drafting process,” said Sierra Club Florida Lobbyist David Cullen. “And we appreciate the hard work of all the organizations and activists who fought so hard for the past three years to get to this day.  We’ll need everyone’s energy to get this bill to the finish line and signed into law.”

Last year, legislation sponsored by Southwest Florida legislators and written by the oil and gas industry, sought to provide a framework for fracking in Florida while concealing the fracking chemicals contents as trade secrets and preempting local communities’ ability to protect their residents. The legislation failed.

The final EPA study on fracking (December 2016) identified more than 200 chemicals used in fracking associated with cancer, immune system effects, changes in body weight, changes in blood chemistry, cardiotoxicity, neurotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity, and reproductive and developmental toxicity.  Once contaminated by these chemicals, Florida’s karst geology that contains our drinking water aquifer would be impossible to clean.

Since last year, close to 90 counties and cities have shown their support for an oil and gas fracking ban citing the risk of water contamination.

Sierra Club Florida is part of the Floridians Against Fracking coalition.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Suncoast Sierra Says "Clean Energy for ALL" @ St. Pete Dr. King Parade

Sierra Club today values equity, justice, and inclusion as core principles. The Suncoast Group of the Sierra Club walked the walk for justice in their community Monday as its members marched in St. Petersburg’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade. Consistent with the parade’s theme to “Dream Big,” as Dr. King did, the Suncoast Group spread the message of “Clean Energy For All,” as they marched two miles to greet 40,000 along Central Ave.

Last year, Suncoast Sierra dreamed big. Its Ready for 100 campaign succeeded in getting the City of St. Petersburg to commit to moving completely off all fossil fuels as the City adopted its Integrated Sustainability Action Plan that combines climate action with action for a resilient coastal city. 

Suncoast Sierra demonstrated that clean energy means more than just solar panels and efficient buildings. Its parade contingent featured 4 Electric Vehicles (EVs): 2 Chevy Volts, a Tesla Model S, and a 2012 Nissan Leaf purchased used for less than $10,000 showing how everyone can end their own use of oil today. 
Future EV owners check out a Chevy Volt. Hopefully they'll be EV passengers soon! 
You can get an EV for >$10K!

After the parade, the Suncoast Sierra members explained the benefits and affordability of EVs at the Family Fun Day event on the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field lot. Suncoast Sierra leaders Lucinda & Howard Johnston raved about their new 2017 Volt. 

Tom Krumreich of Sierra Club’s FL Healthy Air Campaign explained how a used EV market has emerged in the past year allowing clean, quiet cars to be priced competitively with internal combustion cars and hybrids.  Tom & the Johnstons were thrilled with the high level of interest and excitement in their EVs

Suncoast Sierra volunteer
Jessica Lewis surveys new activists
Suncoast Sierra has been reaching out to St. Petersburg’s diverse community in recent years by marching in Pride parades and tabling at Pride street festivals. The FL Healthy Air Campaign rolled in its 4th parade with EVs drawing great interest from onlookers. 

By sharing a positive, fossil-free view for the future, Suncoast Sierra and the FL Healthy Air Campaign are striving to include the entire community in the switch to Clean Energy for All

-- Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative
Lucinda Johnston spins her
Roulette Wheel for prize giveaways
Florida Healthy Air & Ready for 100 Campaigns

Friday, January 6, 2017

President Obama pulls the plug on Seismic Airgun Testing

Sierra Club celebrates this major victory. Here's a press release from our friends at Oceana.


President Obama Denies All Pending Permits for Seismic Airgun Blasting in Atlantic Ocean
Oceana Applauds Obama Administration’s Latest Move to Protect East Coast Communities and Economies
WASHINGTON – Today, the Obama administration formally denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. Seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, was originally proposed in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.

This announcement follows several recent historic moves by the Obama administration to decrease America’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, including the removal of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans from the five year program (from 2017-2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf and the permanent protection of important areas of the Atlantic and Arctic from future offshore drilling.

Oceana applauded the announcement and released the following statement from campaign director Claire Douglass:

“Today, we thank the Obama administration for finishing the job in protecting the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling activities.

East Coast communities can finally take a well-deserved sigh of relief knowing that their ocean and economies are currently spared from dangerous seismic airgun blasting.

With offshore drilling off the table for the near future, there was absolutely no reason to risk the damage that would be caused by seismic airgun blasting in the region.

President Obama and Director Hopper should be revered for their leadership in transitioning the United States away from expanded offshore drilling and toward a cleaner energy economy, including the development of renewable energy sources such as offshore wind.

Over the last few years, Director Hopper and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have made it a priority to listen to all stakeholders, from the interests of the oil and gas industry to the East Coast fishing and tourism economies.

As of today, more than 120 East Coast municipalities, over 1,200 elected officials, and an alliance representing over 35,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have publicly opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting. These individuals and groups understand that nearly 1.4 million jobs and more than $95 billion in gross domestic product are at risk if dangerous oil activities occur in the Atlantic Ocean.

We know that seismic airgun blasting is dangerous. Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean, firing intense blasts of compressed air every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks to months on end. The noise from these blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, which is approximately the distance from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas.

In addition to being extremely loud, these blasts are of special concern to marine life, including fish, turtles and whales, which depend on sound for communication and survival. Numerous studies demonstrate the negative impacts that seismic airgun noise has on ocean ecosystems, including reduced catch rates of commercially valuable fish and silencing bowhead whales. 

The government’s own estimates state that seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of millions more.

In 2015, 75 leading marine scientists sent a letter to President Obama on the impacts of seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, stating that ‘the magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations in the region, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which approximately only 500 remain.’

Today’s decision comes from a visionary president dedicated to preserving the marine environment and furthering a legacy of action against climate change. We applaud the Obama administration for protecting the Atlantic Ocean for generations to come.”

Please use the following link to share this release: http://bit.ly/2hXRy6d


Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With over 100 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. To learn more about Oceana’s work in the United States, please visit www.usa.oceana.org.