Dedicated to the protection of birds, other animals, and their habitats through education and activism
Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170; president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org
Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) and Representative Kathleen Peters (R-Treasure Island) have introduced legislation this year (Senate Bill 462; House Bill 237) to ban the gas production practice known as hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) in the State of Florida.
Senator Young’s bill passed the Senate last year. However, it failed to pass in the Florida House, despite being co-sponsored by about a quarter of the Representatives This year anti-fracking legislation is predicted to have a better chance of passing in the House and continues to have strong support in the Florida Senate.
The environmental downside of this gas well production technology is well-researched and publicized. A brief reading of a selection of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)* provides enough reason to doubt the explanations of those legislators who declare this is a safe technology. The MSDS’s include the safe handling techniques and environmental and health hazards associated with many of the reported highly-toxic compounds used in well development and production using hydraulic fracturing.
*A listing of the MSDS’s for Hydraulic Fracturing Treatment Additives may be found here (courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources): http://www.in.gov/dnr/dnroil/6599.htm
The lawsuit that seeks to remedy the Florida Legislature’s egregious ignoring of the will of the voters as expressed in their overwhelming support at the polls in 2014 for Amendment One (Florida Land and Water Legacy Amendment) is slowly moving through the courts. Lawsuits supported by the Florida Wildlife Fund, Earthjustice (the legal arm of the Sierra Club), Florida Defenders of the Environment, and St. Johns Riverkeepers, anong others, were filed in Circuit Court the year after the amendment was passed. The plaintiffs contend that state has misappropriated funds from the Florida documentary stamp tax that the voters said should be allocated only to acquire, protect and preserve conservation land and waters in the State of Florida. The various lawsuits were merged into one suit early this year and this lawsuit will be heard in court in July 2018. Despite the outcome next summer, the case is expected to then move directly to the State Supreme Court.
We can become aware of the ecological concerns facing Florida and act locally on these issues. The concerns include: degradation of water quality in the IRL; the effects of overdevelopment on the eco-systems and local Quality of Life; saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources related to rise in sea-level. However, I think we should also avail ourselves of the reports concerning non-local but on-going environmental issues. Some listing for consideration:
Oceans Can Rise in Sudden Bursts (Scientific American)
Climate Change Will Bring Major Flooding to New York Every 5 Years (The Atlantic)
New science suggests the ocean could rise more — and faster — than we thought (Energy & Environment)
Climate change, rising seas still a concern for Defense Department (Stars & Stripes)
Ocean acidification research makes a strong case for limiting climate change (Phys.org)
‘Decimated’: Germany’s birds disappear as insect abundance plummets 76% (Monga Bay)
US winter has shrunk 1 month in 100 years (theguardian.com)
"When you toss Nature out the window, she'll soon show up at the front door, holding a pitchfork." - Masanobu Fukuoka