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Oil Drilling Axis Targets Florida's Offshore


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View David Guest's blog posts
15 September 2009, 2:35 PM
Oil's money men lubricate efforts to open up state's waters to drilling

News that "a secretive group of powerful legislators, business groups and Texas oil companies has been laying the groundwork" to open Florida's shores to oil and gas drilling should make all of us sit up and pay attention.
A story by St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald delves into the machinations of the "Florida Energy Associates," a shadowy group that "identifies itself only by saying it is financed by a group of independent oil producers."

These mysterious oilmen—are they Floridians? Americans? Foreign governments? —apparently have fat profits to spend. They've hired lobbyists, public relations experts, a financial consultant and a pollster to get Florida to sell drilling leases in state waters within ten miles off Florida's Gulf Coast.

We've had a sensible moratorium against offshore oil drilling for the past 20 years, because clean, sandy beaches unsullied by tar balls remain our greatest asset.

Lobbyists and fixers hired by the unidentified oil men have dropped a quarter-million dollars of influence around Tallahassee, Klas reports, including "$55,000 to political parties, $35,000 to Republicans and $20,000 to Democrats since May."

"The group has sponsored legislative leadership dinners and has recruited two of the most powerful state lawmakers to sponsor the oil-drilling bill in 2010: Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Melbourne Republican slated to become Senate president in 2010, and Rep. Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican set to become House speaker in 2010."

The slime just keeps getting thicker. They've hired professional spinners—former aides to Governors Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles (two state leaders who sensibly opposed oil derricks off one of the world's best tourist destinations)—to convince us that dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling is all of a sudden clean and desirable.

Please remember, your tax dollars - $127-million worth!—have already been paid to oil companies since 2002, to buy up their offshore leases, ostensibly to keep our beaches free from the nasty tar balls that washed up on Texas beaches all summer.

Gov. Bush promised then that offshore oil drilling was history, and the millions we gave to the oil companies to make them go away was the most cost-effective solution.

But apparently not.

Last spring, the stealth oil men peddled a surprise bill in the Florida Legislature to allow offshore drilling. Their proposal would have allowed the oil companies to bypass the state's normal competitive bidding process. The state, the bill directed, would have to award a bid in just 90 days. The state doesn't do that for office supply purchases, but should do that for something as major as allowing offshore oil rigs in public waters? This ridiculous bill passed the Florida House of Representatives, but thankfully not the Senate.

Now the Florida Senate president and the State House speaker are openly propping offshore oil drilling as if it were the great hope for getting Florida out of recession. Not surprisingly, the state's big developer groups—responsible for overbuilding, flipping real estate, and crashing the go-go false economy—are supporting the oil men, too.

Washington is getting on the bandwagon. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu are sponsoring a federal measure that would reduce a current no-drill zone and expand leases in the Gulf's Destin Dome area. Thank God for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who is fighting it on our behalf.

The only hope in all this madness is for the people to insist on common sense and accountability. Enough with short-sighted politics and big-bucks oil barons on our shores.

Florida's been a magnet for greedy hucksters who want to exploit her charms since before statehood. The St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald did a good job shining a light on the Big Oil money men skulking around our state. Now, we the people need to run them off.
 

These Fat cats in Washington & the oil Industry will exploit any law & any area in the country, or world for that matter, if there is oil to be found & money to be made.

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I am wondering what everything can be possibly involved to release all permits that allow mining companies to do all this. Are there no restrictions? EPA should prepare strict rules that avoid any harm to the landscape and surrounded nature. I hope that it will be stopped soon. email marketing service

It wouldn't be that easy to shut off those big oil refinery plants off florida's shore because they will lose a lot of money doing that. They would really realize it if the world would nearly comes to an end. Ruby @ Mobile Phone Tracking

We've had a sensible moratorium against offshore oil north face jackets on sale drilling for the past 20 years,the north face outlet because clean, sandy beaches unsullied by north face outlet tar balls remain our greatest asset.

Well, the preoccupation with environmental issues is pretty understandable! And I say thanks God that they finally realized something should be done about it!
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Let's drill all over the beaches and trash them. Then, after they are ruined, OPEC can cut production by .00001% and offset all the new oil we found.

Does anybody think that drilling in Florida will reduce the cost of gas? Not in 10 years, not ever! It is technically possible but in the reality of market dynamics, utterly impossible because OPEC cuts a few hundred thousand barrels and the price is exactly where it would have been with zero Florida drilling. When they control 70% of the pie, there is nothing that can be done with 2% to change the market. Period.

You can bet with Palin as VP that the frozen tundra of Alaska will never be drilled on. You know, that uninhabitable place where nobody ever goes or even sees. Meanwhile, the pristine beaches that the nation uses as recreation every day of the year gets trashed for nothing other than more oil company profit.

Never forget this: a barrel of oil from the beach at Caldesi Island sells for just as much as a barrel from deep in the Alaskan wasteland. But it costs way more to extract it from Alaska. So the oil companies and their minions in Congress "protect the beauty of" Alaska and trash Florida. And somehow this nonsense passes as reality. Unbelievable.

I can't believe that anybody with a pulse can't see through this obvious propaganda. This is nothing more than a money-grab by the oil companies. Their PACs have perverted the Congress and way too many people are falling for the lies.

Bottom line: the oil companies see easy pickings (read fat profit margins) and want to grab it. You pay the same, they make more - simple as that. Oh yeah, and you get tarballs and oil spills on your next trip to Clearwater Beach.

Better bring some acetone to cleanup your kids before they get in the car for the drive home. Cancer is underrated anyway.

Offshore drilling in Florida should be stopped. Just as mentioned in the above article, $127 million dollars in our tax money has already been used to prevent this and now the money, effort, and time will go to waste. Not only will that be a problem but the off shore drilling will commence only 10 miles off the coast in sunny, beautiful, “beachy” Florida- our biggest asset. Officials urge that drilling off Florida’s shores are the only way to get local oil here in America and not depend on foreign countries, but that is not the only way! The use of more hybrid cars and simple carpooling can limit the use of gas by millions! One “pro” given for offshore drilling in Florida is that the new oil discovery will “ease the state’s tight budget” ("Panel hears pros, cons for Florida offshore drilling" By: Brandon Larrabee). But this cannot be true when oil spills will cause tar balls in the beautiful Florida beaches that attract Florida’s biggest income- the tourists. Can you imagine going on vacation and spending over $5,000 dollars to swim in a sunny, oily beach? I don’t know who would! So please consider these points when reviewing what others have to say about Florida’s offshore drilling. Write to your senators, make your voice known! If you follow this link http://www.environmentflorida.org/issues/save-our-shores/stop-offshore-d... it will take you to Florida’s “Stop offshore drilling” website where there is more information and a link to email your state senator directly! Please Floridans and all others who love our beautiful beaches take this action when greatly needed!

This is bad news for florida for sure.

This article is full of so many scare tactics and false facts it’s almost hard to read.

1. "Tar balls" are naturally occurring from NATURAL seepage in our oceans. Have any of you ever been to Miami? No drilling there, yet the dreaded "tar balls" can still be found. They don’t come from rigs, off rigs or the wells they drill. Unlike other countries, the US has far too many regulations on the oil industry for a single drop of oil to enter the ocean as a result of drilling.

2. The $127 million was received by the state from oil companies for leases they were never allowed to drill on, and it was paid back to the oil companies to which the money belonged. It was not tax payer money. Way to bend the truth...

3. The only inconvenience anyone is asking of us is that we see (3 miles off in the distance mind you), an occasional, TEMPORARY, oil rig. No refineries, no extra tankers, yet billions in desperately needed revenue. There is drilling going on in some of the most beautiful places in the world and has been for years, incident free.

4. There is drilling going on 45 miles of the coast of the keys as we speak. But guess what? Our state gets ZERO dollars from it. Guess what else? Russia, Cuba and Venezuela (none too friendly to the US) will/are all drilling just as close WITH NO SAFETY REGULATIONS. In the unlikely event that there would be an oil related incident, we would have the resources to respond immediately in Florida. The closest place these resources are currently found are in Louisiana, much to far to respond to an incident from the current drilling of other countries in a timely manner. And don’t think they will clean it up themselves, this is Cuba we are talking about.

5. Lastly, companies like BP and Chevron are some of the largest researchers and monetary contributors to alternative energy sources, and why wouldn’t they be? They realize that oil will one day run out, so they want to have that market cornered as well.

I realize this site is a liberal, "save the earth" type of site, but please look into the facts of this situation on your own and in a reasonable way. Don’t use articles like this one to form your opinion.

Don’t think this article is full of scare tactics, just look at the title. "Oil Drilling Axis" is a clear reference to the Bush coined phrase "Axis of Evil." Real creative author....

YOU STILL WANT TO DRILL 3-10 MILES OFF THE COAST OF FLORIDA ??
MAYBE YOU SHOULD CHECK THE LIES FROM THE TEXAS DRILLERS AND LOBBYIST`S
DAVID RANCORT LOBBYIST FLORIDA ENERGY ASSOC. MAYBE HE SHOULD STOP LYING ABOUT THE SAFTEY AUSTRALIA, AND NOW THE GULF OFF THE LOUISIANA

Does anyone know exactly which of our state legislators are supporting this off-shore drilling? We need to know so we can begin to ask them questions about their stance.

Why? Because they could care less about Florida or it's beautiful coastlines. These Fat cats in Washington & the oil Industry will exploit any law & any area in the country, or world for that matter, if there is oil to be found & money to be made. Morality & ethics will Always take a back seat to the Almighty dollar. We all need to stand up to these people otherwise there won't be many more clean beaches left to go to.

A local grassroots group has set up a page to FAX comments to the presiden of the Florida state senate at: http://progressflorida.org/page/speakout/faxatwater
Here is my FAX sent 17 Sep. I have removed my name for posting this comment.

Dear Senate President Atwater:
I originally came to Florida as a graduate student at UF. I own a home, I pay taxes, and I’ve voted in every election since 1998. After I earned my degree in 2005, I stayed to continue my career here because I care about our quality of LIFE and the wide biodiversity this special place supports. (If you Google my name, you’ll see how deeply I’m involved and committed to preserving LIFE on EARTH.)

Drilling off Florida's TOURIST-RICH coasts will endanger our most REVENUE-PRODUCTIVE species, the tourists themselves, as well as the species they've come to see, appreciate, and share habitat with.

The sages who've said we can't drill our way to energy security are right. The environmental cost and the greenhouse gas products released from burning "black gold" are too much (for the EARTH) to bear. OUR LAND MASS IS SO CLOSE TO SEA LEVEL WE CANNOT AFFORD EVEN A SINGLE METER RISE IN SEA DEPTH. Our researchers at UF have proven that the sea level IS rising and have even published the RATE at which this was happening in the late 1990s.

The idiots who deny the dramatic warming of the atmosphere and the dire consequences CANNOT be genuine. They must either be "end timers" or mentally deficient. The Gainesville Sun printed a nationally syndicated article just last week that revealed the UNEXPECTEDLY rapid rate at which methane (possibly the WORST greenhouse gas) is being released from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic. Guess what, that’s on this same planet with Florida, we share the same biosphere and, despite what some scientists hope for, THIS IS THE ONLY PLANET we know of where LIFE as we know it exists.
Well-healed lobbyists have been coming to Florida with bags of money to “buy” the support of “ignorant southerners” for years (and laughing all the way back to the boardrooms of their masters).
Let’s change our reputation from short-sighted gulls to wise, cautious stewards of the EARTH. If you believe in the possibility of a GOD, can you truly (and safely) say He’d approve of your effort to HASTEN the DESTRUCTION of HIS CREATION –the ONLY place in the entire known universe that LIFE exists?
Even if you can put a price tag on your soul, is that a good enough price for the FUTURE of LIFE on EARTH?
As a concerned scientist and Floridian, I urge you to oppose any efforts by the state legislature to open up Florida's coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling.
Please oppose any state legislative efforts to "rig" Florida's future.
Let's decide TODAY, the EARTH is worth saving.
The courtesy of your reply would be appreciated.
Thank you.
Same sun, same stars,
a.k.a. Hairstreak

I hope Earth Justice will initiate an Action Alert to register alarm and concern over secret deals for oil drilling off the Florida coastline.

Why can't the big oil people go to the places that already have rigs set up and get oil there instead of coming to our (Fla's) shore line and drilling? Why do they have to do this?

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