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New legislation about fracking

June 25, 2014
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I have never sent a letter to the editor before and hope that this first attempt goes over well. I am a candidate for Florida State House District 76 and have something to say. I hope for clarity, the Breeze Newspapers would put a district map with this letter.

District 76 is being represented at this time, by Mr. Ray W. Rodrigues (R), and I am finding it hard to control myself each time I see a news article saying how HB 71 and HB 157 are being introduced into the legislature for the good and the benefit of the public welfare, or for the public's right to know about the chemicals that are introduced into our water supply when "fracking." Fracking or hydro-fracturing is a method of producing oil and gas reserves from non-producing oil wells, or even new oil and gas wells. Some may not pay close attention to the political on goings of our short legislative sessions. There is much to absorb and we here in our beautiful environment of Southwest Florida may not notice, or care, because we like to take the boat out, or see that it is a beautiful day to take in a round of golf at our favorite course. But, the reality is if we do not pay attention to our government, something could go horribly wrong. We must remember that "We are the Government" and we must be vigilant in observing our representatives and what they do.

The two pieces of legislation, HB 71 and HB 157, from what I can gather are two pieces of what are called "model legislation." In the old days we called wordings that got cut and pasted "boiler plate." HB 71 has the intent of forming a registry to disclose the chemicals within the fracking fluids, but the registry would be maintained by the oil and gas proponents. This is not the way I would like to see the registry maintained.

However, the most egregious of the two House Bills is HB 157. This legislation basically carves out an exemption for the disclosure, if the company says that their particular mix of "Fracking Fluid" is a "Trade Secret" or proprietary in some way. Now I don't know about you reading this, but I think that is a mechanism of hiding the chemicals and not disclosing them. This year is the second year in a row that our representative has introduced this legislation into the Florida House. I want to be clear that I am making "no charge" here. I would like the public for itself, to look at what our representative is doing.

One last note before I sign off here...The area in Golden Gate (Collier County) where this fracking is to take place is not in Mr. Rodrigues' district. And, this area is home to our protected Florida panther, and home to the "DRGR" that is the water aquifer that Fort Myers area residents get 80 percent of its drinking water from. So, take a day off from going out to the links or a day on the water and look into what your Florida State Representative for District 76 is doing. You may just be very surprised.

Charles Messina

Pine Island



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