Frack no

Energy group travels here to ‘protest’

Kile Brewer
Posted 4/5/17

ORANGE PARK – There were no signs, no megaphones and no chants Monday when a handful of concerned citizens gathered outside the local office of Sen. Rob Bradley(R-Fleming Island).

Those …

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Frack no

Energy group travels here to ‘protest’

Posted

ORANGE PARK – There were no signs, no megaphones and no chants Monday when a handful of concerned citizens gathered outside the local office of Sen. Rob Bradley(R-Fleming Island).

Those gathered, all members of environmental organizations, were there to voice their support for a bill that is currently waiting to be read before the Florida Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources after being passed through the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

Bradley, who chairs the latter of the two committees, showed support for the bill during its first vote, and those gathered outside his office both thanked him for his support. They urged Bradley to schedule a hearing so that the bill can become ratified before the end of this year’s legislative session. With the bill appearing dead in the Florida House, environmentalists are asking Bradley and the Senate to lead by example and hear Senate Bill 442.

Tallahassee-based ReThink Energy Florida hosted the press conference, and were joined by members from two separate chapters of the Sierra Club, a member of the Madison County Garden Club, and, via proxy, Todd Sack of the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Members from each group spoke as if directly addressing the senator about why they think he should push this bill through as quickly as possible. All of the conversation culminates to one sentiment – the risks of fracking in Florida outweigh the potential benefits.

“We all know there are leaders in the Florida House that would oppose a ban [on fracking],” said Doug Miller, ReThink Energy Florida’s campaign director. “Our organizations understand that energy problems are real, we just think that betting on fracking is just a temporary fix.”

Though he could not attend the Orange Park event, Sack sent a prepared statement on the behalf of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, who have studied fracking at length and written their own policies on the “clear health risks of natural gas fracking.”

“The health risks of fracking are far too great to Floridians and to our fragile aquifer that gives us our drinking water, supports agriculture and supports tourism,” Sack wrote. “For the small amount of natural gas that might come from Florida, gas that the world does not need, and the small number of jobs in the gas industry, the risks to our health are too great.”

Sack’s message to Bradley also cited a 2015 EPA study pointing out health risks involved in the process.

“Fracking in other states uses hundreds of chemicals that likely cause birth defects, liver failure, brain injury and cancer,” he states.

There are currently two bills in the Florida legislature that address this issue, SB 442, and the companion bill in the House, House Bill 451. Both bills are awaiting their next committee hearing before, potentially, they will be sent to the two floors for a final vote.

Echoing the statements of Miller, Tom Larson, conservation chair of the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club, thinks fracking is only a temporary solution to a very big problem.

“The opportunity for renewable [energy] is cheaper,” Larson said. “This is the sunshine state and we should have a significant expansion of solar. Each sunny day is a gigantic solar energy spill.”

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