Yesterday after a stress-filled two-and-a- half hours of talk about the pro-fracking SB 318, mostly by Sen. Richter and number-one fan Sen. Simpson, the room was left aghast by a 10-9 vote against fracking, but this was quickly changed by Chairwoman Sen. Benacquisto who declared a procedural vote which allows the bill to be reconsidered next Tuesday, March 1, 2016, if Sen. Tom Lee so decides.
This action happened very, very quickly at the end and left many in the room confused. It seems to this writer that this happens fairly often in our Legislature, and he too, remains confused.
Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Jon Steverson, his employee Paula Cobb, petroleum engineer consultant from Tulsa OK, Dan Arthur spoke at length advocating fracking. Their lengthy, sometimes-evasive answers led Sen. Latvala from Clearwater to declare that he had never seen a better tap-dancing exhibition.
Sen. Lee talked a long time about an amendment dealing with the controversial preemption of local governance part of the bill and finally withdrew it. Sen. Arthenia Joyner from Tampa spoke frankly, using words like “common sense” and other similar terms which drew applause from the huge contingent of anti-frackers in the audience.
All in all, it was an unusual day in Tallahassee, and maybe we won a great battle. Next Tuesday we will know if we will pop the cork of the champagne bottle or not. Latest info is that the bill is on the agenda again for Tuesday, and public input will be allowed.
At this point at least, we thank everyone single one who has made phone calls, written letters and op-eds, carried a sign, written e-mails, gone to meetings, spoken to hostile legislators, and especially our intelligent legislators who supported the anti-fracking effort.
NOT THE LEAST OF THIS MESSAGE: CALL TO ACTION TO ASSURE THAT THIS WRAITH OF A BILL DOES NOT RISE AGAIN
In case it goes to the floor, everyone should call their Senator and ask them to vote no or continue to vote no.
We need to email the Nos and thank them and ask them to stay strong and vote no next week (even Benacquisto) – especially Negron and Latvala
Benacquisto: email@example.com 850 487 5030
Negron: firstname.lastname@example.org 850 487 5032
Latvala: email@example.com 850 487 5020
We need to call the Yes votes and ask them to switch to vote No – especially Lee, Garcia, and Altman
Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org 850 487 5024
Garcia: email@example.com 850 487 5038
Altman: firstname.lastname@example.org 850 487 5016