Mary Ellen Klas’ Jan. 14 article, Florida Senate waters down fracking bill, but advances it raises issues that are critical to decision-making around fracking in Florida.
Inspecting groundwater before and after drilling doesn’t ensure its safety; it just indicates whether contamination has occurred. And allocating $1 million to a study of how fracking chemicals would affect Florida’s drinking water is unnecessary. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have already been done, and although the oil and gas industry has done its utmost to obfuscate the results, the conclusion is clearly that no amount of oversight can make fracking safe.
Furthermore, Senator Garrett Richter’s SB 318 contains a definition of well stimulation that excludes matrix acidization, the type of well stimulation likely to be used in Florida. Thus neither the study nor subsequent regulations would apply to the type of fracking with which Floridians actually need to be concerned.
While the bill requires disclosure of any chemicals injected into the ground, that disclosure would be made to the DEP rather than to healthcare providers or the public at large. There are no exceptions. And even if the information were made public, it wouldn’t protect us, it would merely inform us.
We have been drilling for oil in Florida for the past 70 years, but that drilling has been conventional. Conventional drilling doesn’t involve the dangers that fracking does.
While energy independence is critical, we can achieve it by developing Florida’s solar potential.
As for Associated Industries of Florida lobbyist Brewster Bevis’ claim that fracking creates jobs, those jobs carry a risk of death seven times that of the average American worker.
Richter claims that although his bill isn’t perfect, the status quo is worse. Untrue. As of now, local governments in Florida are free to ban fracking. A number already have.