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Fracking bills should not go through

November 5, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

We, in the State of Florida, sit on a thin patch of earth covering massive accumulations of porous limestone. Through this flows billion of gallons of water daily on its way both to the sea and to the faucets of 20 million Floridians and the millions of tourists who visit our state annually. The process of "fracking" to extract oil and natural gas involves contamination of this precious resource-water.

Sadly, and presently, fracking is without regulation and is allowed in Florida. While it does require a DEP permit, is the DEP up to the task of verifying these regulations? Recent machinations by Gov. Scott have insured the DEP is not.

Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples and Rep. Ray Rodrigues of Fort Myers have proposed SB 318 and HB 191, respectively. These two State legislators claim their Bills will regulate fracking, yet upon more than a cursory glance we find their bills fall pitifully short of that. Their bills do not protect the people's safety nor their economic interests. They do protect the economic interests of the fossil fuel industry and possibly that of Sen. Richter and Rep. Rodrigues. Sadly, if these bills with their grossly inadequate regulations become law, it will take "All the king's horses and all the king's men" to amend them to do the job needed.

Space fails to allow an in-depth critique of the shortcomings, but recall how many foods have misleading labels such as "fat free," "no sugar," "organic," etc. A reading of the list of ingredients reveals the truth, however. So it is with these bills.

As stated in my previous letter, each fracked well uses an average of 32 million gallons of water. To this vast amount of water, that does not have to be potable but often is, many simple and very nasty chemicals are used to facilitate the process. They are put into the ground at great depths and therefore are introduced into our portion of this earth, into our water supply, into our lakes, into our rivers and into our surrounding oceans. The list of chemicals is extensive. This screams of contamination of the water supply, the lakes, the rivers, the creeks, the canals, the streams, the ocean and the natural springs which are already in stress from other factors such as drought and contamination by other operations. We don't need to add another insult to our natural resources, the most important being our drinking water.

Is fracking with regulation the safe course and the only course to follow? It is not. The BP Deep Water Horizon was a regulated well. Think about that. The only safe course is a statewide ban on fracking.

Contact Sen. Richter and Rep. Rodrigues and ask them to rescind SB 318 and HB 191. They insult the intelligence of Florida's people. The only smart course is to ban fracking totally, and Sen. Bullard, Sen. Soto and Rep. Jenne have once again introduced bills to do just that. These are SB 166 and HB 19. Insist that your legislators pass the ban bills of these heroic three and throw out the two of our two misguided legislators.

The risks are not worth the benefits.

Richard Silvestri

Vice President,

Treasure Coast Progressive Alliance



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