Fracking will Drown Miami. Miami Republicans are Key to Stopping It!

Thanks to your many phone calls and e-mails, Senators Margolis and Braynan voted NO in subcommittee on SB318… That’s just the start.

(updated 1/27/2016)

The House companion bill (HB191) was fast-tracked, and passed the Florida House by a vote of 75–43 on 1/27.

Soon, SB318 will be voted on in a Senate Committee… and then by the Full Senate. If it passes the Senate… Florida will be Fracked.

Calling Florida Senators — both your own and those in key positions — 
is the only way to halt this atrocity.

This article provides background info… especially regarding the emerging Republican Climate Leadership… which can help you be more informed on the topic.

If you are in a rush…
Contact info, shortcuts and talking points is near the bottom of this page.

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) — (305) 643–7200 
Jeremy Ring (D) — (954) 917–1392
Anitere Flores (R)— (305) 270–6550
Rene Garcia (R) — (305) 364–3100
Tom Lee (R)— (813) 653–7061

If Fracking becomes law, Florida, the Everglades, our water supply and our health will be contaminated. These impacts are already well-documented in more than 500 studies. Some are described in detail in my prior piece on Fracking.

What isn’t so well known is much, much worse

Fracking is a major cause of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise, which will drown Miami. That is because Fracking releases Methane in unrestricted quantities, and Methane is a greenhouse gas 25x more dangerous than carbon dioxide. How bad is it? At least 3,900 scholarly papers have been written about it.

Industry hacks have been telling us that Fracking is safe. Obama even included it in his Clean Energy plan, believing that this was true. Maintaining this illusion is expensive: Industry money has been pouring into Florida — $28.5 million in the last 6 months alone (not just for Fracking). The poster-child for this is the Koch family, which is spending at least $900 million in the current national election cycle to buy politicians at wholesale rates.

Where Fracking Stands Today in Florida

The House’s HB191 would grant full control to the state for oil & gas, and it could have its third reading and a vote on 1/27. Representatives need to hear from you ASAP (see below).

The Senate’s SB318 had a subcommittee hearing on 1/25. The Chairman threatened the speakers that they could only speak to the bill itself — not to the substantial issues of Fracking’s terrible safety record — and would be cut off if they did so. He only allowed 30 seconds for each speaker. Then he proceeded to stifle any dissent, yet claimed that this was a shining example of American Democracy. The bill was clearly being railroaded.

State Senators Gwen Margolis and Oscar Braynan both listened to constituent input, and voted against. Some Republicans brought up reservations, but voted the Party Line. It passed the subcommittee 5 for and 2 against.

We’re not sure when HB318 will come up for a vote in the full Senate yet.

What is even worse? The bills to ban Fracking in Florida (HB19 and SB166) are being held hostage in committees, and can not get a fair hearing. 
What are they afraid of? The overwhelming public support that these bills have… they are afraid of YOU, the empowered citizen.

Who will protect us from this Fracking menace?

The Good News about a New Wave of Republican Leadership!

There is a new wave of leadership sweeping through South Florida Republicans. They are waking up to the fact that Sea-Level Rise (SLR) is already in the streets of South Florida, and that protecting their constituents from a clear and present danger is more important that toeing a Party Line created by the big polluters.

A group of 12 Republican US Representatives have signed the Republican Climate Resolution (link), introduced to the US House of Representatives, with a preamble citing numerous conservative principles:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives commits to working constructively, using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism, to create and support economically viable, and broadly supported private and public solutions to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates, including mitigation efforts and efforts to balance human activities that have been found to have an impact.

South Florida signatories include Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo. They are putting their constituents first. Curbelo wrote an outstanding OpEd for the Miami Herald, Climate change cannot be a partisan issue (link).

They have recognized that Climate Change and SLR are strategic issues that threaten the future of the USA, and that this transcends Party partisanship. The US Military has come to the same conclusions.

This sea-change in Republican leadership is partly due to the patient work of the Citizens Climate Lobby. CCL is a young but growing national non-profit working on a non-partisan basis, respecting all viewpoints, to bridge gaps in understanding… and help politicians understand what is truly at risk, and the science that proves it. In South Florida, CCL is led by Greg Hamra and Dr. John Van Leer (my father, a professor of Physical Oceanography and Sustainability at the University of Miami). I am very proud of their work.

The Immorality of Climate Change and Environmental Destruction

There has been a growing chorus among people of faith and conscience that environmentally destructive actions and policies are sinful and contrary to core lessons of their religions. They come from many walks, from the Society of Friends (Quakers) to Greek Orthodox to Jimmy Carter to the Pope. They understand that the evidence of Climate Change is irrefutable and the consensus among climate scientists stands at around 99%.

Every Christian is familiar with the time when Jesus whipped the money-lenders out of the Temple. Sadly, many who claim to be religious leaders are in bed with the biggest polluters of the earth (often referred to in the Bible as God’s Creation) for the sake of their money. Though some are still blind to it, more and more Christians are waking up to this contradiction — and “whipping them out” — because that is what Jesus did. It is the moral thing to do.

The announcement of the Republican Climate Resolution immediately preceded the Pope’s address to the US Congress — a happy coincidence. His recent Encyclical has had tectonic impacts, especially for those who are seeking moral and ethical guidance.

The Florida Legislature Lags in Leadership

At this point, most of the Republicans who populate the Florida Senate and House have not yet caught on. They continue to embrace Fracking. Their Party continues to accept massive payments from massive polluters.

The realpolitik is that if they don’t put protection of people first, they will cease to be relevant. Their jobs are on the line on other levels as well: the recent redistricting that ended gerrymandering is accelerating this change. The Florida Supreme Court stepped in when the Florida Legislature spectacularly failed to fix their admitted violations of Florida’s Fair Districts Constitutional Amendment. Now many former incumbents face an honest challenge for re-election.

Today, a plundering mentality gripping Tallahassee. Many legislators are rushing to cash in, to fulfill their promises to major donors before they are out pushed of office. This is especially important to legislators occupying senior committee leadership positions… their golden parachutes (promised corporate and lobbying jobs) are at risk. Fracking is just one of many corporate priorities...

… But There is Another Path

There is a clear path forward: take the high road, join the new wave of Republican leadership, and protect Florida’s people from Sea-Level Rise and Fracking. Florida needs unity and good governance, not partisan bickering.

Voters respect politicians who stand up for them, not against them, regardless of Party. I hope that every legislator will of every party will stand together to protect their constituents from this menace.

“Well regulated” Fracking has contaminated the soil and water in every state where it is allowed. Fracking is unsafe for our water, for our ecosystems, for our people and our children. There is no “undo” button when it spills… as it always does.

What YOU can do NOW!

It is time for you to speak up. 
If you are silent, the only voices they will hear are the lobbyists.

Florida Senate

Please call ASAP —we don’t know when voting will happen.

Who to Call:

Key Senators
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) — (305) 643–7200 
Jeremy Ring (D) — (954) 917–1392
Anitere Flores (R) — (305) 270–6550
Rene Garcia (R) — (305) 364–3100
Tom Lee (R) — (813) 653–7061

Contact your Senator also. Find your Senator here.

Please tell them:
A vote for Fracking is a Vote to Drown Miami and Coastal Communities. 
A vote for Fracking is a Vote to poison our water supply. 
Miami-Dade passed a Resolution against Fracking, and Broward passed a Ban. Don’t steal the rights from local governments to protect their citizens. 
Vote NO on SB318 so Counties and Cities can still ban Fracking. 
Give a fair hearing to the Florida Fracking Ban, and then Vote YES on SB166.

Next Steps
Please reach out to friends, and ask them to make these calls. 
Share this article with them directly.
Share this article on Facebook, Twitter & other Social Media.
Word of Mouth - and Word of Mouse - are the best ways to get the word out!

Want to do MORE?

UPG needs YOU!

There are many ways that you can help: 
* Join the Policy Team (and work on issues like this)
* Get your hands dirty in the Field, planting and protecting Habitat and Gardens. 
* Become a UPG Intern or Team Leader: build your skills and impacts through deeper commitments. 
* Join a UPG Committee, and help UPG get stronger by working behind the scenes…

Contact sam@urban-paradise.org

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