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Urgent Action: Oppose SB411, PA Acid Mine Drainage Bill

January 13, 2014

URGENT – Call your PA Senator from now through Tuesday!

Oppose PA SB411, the Acid Mine Drainage in Fracking Bill!

Please call or email your Pennsylvania State Senator right now to tell him or her not to vote for PA SB411.

2014 sb411 meme

SB411 provides overly broad immunity to drillers, letting them off the hook if they pollute streams or soil with highly toxic fracking wastewater, as long as that toxic waste includes any amount of AMD (acid mine drainage) water.

What’s worse, proposed gas rules now open for public comment would allow untreated AMD to be stored in open freshwater impoundments used in fracking and drilling. But those impoundments are not designed to hold hazardous liquids, adding another way that this pollution can be let loose into the environment.

Please email or call your PA State Senator now. The vote is expected today, Monday, Jan. 13th, but keep calling through Tuesday because anything can happen.

Update: 11:30 AM Monday Jan. 13th: The critical vote belongs to State Senator Vincent Hughes, the Senate Minority Leader. Please call Senator Hughes’ office and ask him to vote no on SB 411, because companies shouldn’t be allowed to profit off of pollution.

Call Senator Hughes now: (717) 787-7112

To find your Pennsylvania State Senator click here.

The Bill, as currently amended, can be found here.

Click here to read the letter 27 organizations sent to the Senate opposing SB411.

Please ask your family and friends to call too!

For Talking Points and more information and analysis go here.

Don’t be confused!

As if to add further badly-timed confusion to the fire, StateImpact PA just published an article this morning, on the day of the vote, singing the praises of using Acid Mine Drainage water to reduce radioactivity in fracking wastewater!

While the science is interesting, in practice the benefits are theoretical, with other potential consequences left unexplored. Worse, unfortunately the StateImpact piece concluded with a brief reference to the Acid Mine Drainage bill (SB411). which implies the acid mine drainage bill is purely beneficial. The StateImpact piece ignores the raging controversy, fails to mention the fierce statewide opposition to the bill among residents of fracking regions and among at least 27 environmental organizations, including Protecting Our Waters.

Let’s be clear. The bill is written by the fracking industry and its friends to ensure that they get more power and control, save money, and have less liability for their actions… while “framing” the bill as pro-environmental. It’s a Trojan Horse.

In addition to letting polluters off the hook for damage they cause as long as AMD water is used in the waste that causes the damage, and in addition to the clauses allowing dangerous and inappropriate storage of AMD, SB411, according to Delaware Riverkeeper Network, “would spread polluted water from coal mines into our aquifers and into the fracking business. It is being described as a ‘beneficial activity’ but is really a perversion of the PA Environmental Good Samaritan Act.”

Please call now to oppose SB411. Then, if you like, join 2100 petition-signers here and join 140 “Thunderclap” users here, to maximize the power of the internet… after you’ve maximized the power of your own voice with that crucial telephone call.

Thank you for all you do!

4 Comments
  1. January 13, 2014 6:46 pm

    Reblogged this on E K H I.

  2. Sam permalink
    January 13, 2014 7:22 pm

    SB411 gives immunity to gas driller pollution even if they do not touch acid mine drainage. How? Tons of drill cuttings are produced at each well. Commercial use of drill cuttings (such as the permit DEP gave this year to Clean Earth of Williamsport) fits the definition of mining activity (refer to Title 27 Chapter 81 which SB411 amends). Gas well pads are then mining activity, and the new Mine Drainage definition can refer to the gas well pad discharges that now have beneficial and commercial use for these drill cuttings. With that in mind, consider the horrid language in SB411: on page 11 in the newly added definition of mine drainage – no AMD needed in the picture to give immunity to pollution at the gas well pad.

    One way to insure that this bill will not give such broad immunity is to change the definition of “Mine Drainage” and add the words …”and not including noncoal surface mining” and refer to the noncoal surface mining conservation and reclamation act.

    There are numerous similar items in SB411 that demonstrate our concern about the deceptive language used.

    No Senator should vote for this bill as written. If they do, they didn’t read or understand the language, and we need to let our legislators know what it says.

    SB411 is on the calendar tomorrow for final passage. Speak out Tuesday morning, Senators, please vote no. However, this bill is not needed in the first place. It’s just a late holiday gift to the gas industry.

  3. January 13, 2014 10:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Frack_Free_Farming.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      January 14, 2014 12:43 pm

      Thanks to Frack_free_farming and to Juan for reblogging; and to Sam for the incredibly helpful comments. Any bill that re-defines fracking as “mining” due to the radioactive and toxic fluids and drill cuttings which are produced during shale gas drilling is twisted beyond belief– in addition to the other problems this bill already has.

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