How did Florida House members vote on Fracking? In the 2012-13 Florida legislative session, there was only one vote on fracking, and that on a disingenuous pair of bills. On those bills all Republicans and almost half of all Democrats voted in favor of fracking.
Following are the 2012-13 Florida House Committee votes on HB 743 (“Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act”) and HB 745. (“Public Records/Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act”). HB 743 would have required oil producers in Florida to register hydraulic fracturing chemicals with a public database and.the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in accordance with OSHA regulations. HB 745 would have exempted any trade secrets so registered from disclosure under Florida public records laws.
In 2012 House committees voted in favor of these two bills as per the table below. The whole House then passed HB 743 with only
19 23 of 38 44 voting Democrats in opposition [ updated 12-8-13 to include 6 late votes ].
However the bills died in Florida Senate committees, reportedly principally because of objections to the “public records bill”, HB 745. The bills never came to a floor vote in the Senate, and left a scant voting record.
These two bills have been re-introduced into the 2013-14 session essentially unaltered by Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) as HB 71 and HB 157.
Proponents argued that the disclosure bill would protect the public from the use of dangerous fracking chemicals, and that it was necessary to exempt trade secrets from public records disclosure to reassure the oil companies that their trade secrets would be protected.
Opponents argued that (a) hydraulic fracturing is only one of many “unconventional oil recovery techniques” that might use dangerous chemicals and (b) that it is the least likely to be used in Florida; that (c) the bills are superfluous in that (d) the OSHA regulations on which the disclosure bill depends already require disclosure of hazardous chemicals to protect well workers and (e) already exempt the disclosure of “trade secret” chemicals, thereby (f) failing to adequately disclose hazardous chemicals and (g) failing to protect the public. Moreover, opponents argue, (g) the mandated database is not public but is in fact funded by the oil industry while (h) the public records bill would further endanger the public by preventing even courts from disclosing publicly hazardous chemicals that have been arbitrarily and unilaterally declared to be “trade secrets” by the industry. In sum, opponents charge that the bills are disiningenuous legislation, modeled on other, similar legislation introduced in other states on behalf of the oil companies to bestow immunity on the oil companies while giving the public a false sense of security.
Preserve Our Paradise concurs with the opponents on most of the preceding points and finds such legislation to be poor public policy. Therefore, in the following scorecard, a “1” is a vote against the bill and in favor of the environment and a “-1″ is a vote for the bill and against the environment.
|HB 743||HB 745|
|Castor Dentel, Karen||30||1|
|Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle||9||1|