Ken Welch: offshore drilling not the answer

10/29/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

At last night’s offshore oil drilling forum in Tallahassee, drilling advocate David Rancourt, with the Southern Strategy Group, was asked who is backing the plan. A group calling itself Florida Energy Associates is mostly anonymous. Rancourt defended the anonymity of the investors, by pointing to the surreptitious nature with which Disney purchased thousands of acres of land under the names of shadow groups in order to not tip people off to their intentions.

Rancourt: "Lance Phillips out of the Dallas, Texas area has come forward as the leader of our group. Doug Daniels from Daytona Beach, Florida is also a leader of our group and the CLO of the operation. There are others in the group who choose to be anonymous for a lot of reasons. I am very proud of the people I represent; they are all from America. They are all God-fearing, tax-paying citizens as I have said. Some of them however want to remain anonymous for the time being. All of them are willing to put their names forward, when the day a bid goes in, for the opportunity to lease land in Florida. We are not trying to hide anything in the long run, but we don't want to tip anything to our competitors; where we are interested in exploring, because this industry follows that. I will also submit to you; I do not know who is funding the efforts of our opposition."

Rancourt suggested that nominal enemies like Hugo Chavez and Middle East and OPEC nations would benefit if Florida retained its ban on offshore fossil fuel drilling. But the total amount of reserves off of Florida’s coasts is not expected to make much of a dent in global fossil fuel supplies.

Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch was one of the six panelists. Like most other Pinellas politicians and civic groups, Welch opposes lifting the ban on drilling off the coasts of Florida. Welch said, quote, “the answer is not drilling three miles off of our shores.”

Welch: "I would ask the proponents why they dont drill in the 75% of the area where they can drill right now in the Gulf. Second of all, President Barack Obama was here yesterday in Arcadia at an FPL solar farm the largest in the nation. Alternative energy has to be part of our energy independence; we cannot drill our way out of this problem when we produce 3% of the worlds oil and consume 25% of it. Alternative energy, be it wind, solar, or nuclear, I support as well; as well as smarter more efficient vehicles. Hybrid technology, fuel-cell, all of that has to be part of that mix."

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There was quite a bit of misinformation in the debate about whether there had been any oil spills in the past 30 years. There has been many for a list of some recent spills by off shore oil go to NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration IncidentNews Or NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP)


Maybe instead of trusting "God Fearing American investors", we should trust those that are in fear of destorying our climate, our water, our air and our childrens furure here in Florida. As far as solar farms are concerned, why do we here in Florida not have a booming solar retail products industry? Where are the "Solar Depots" where individuals can go and buy solar equipment so that the solar costs would drop due to competition? Why can homeowners make their own energy at home and not depend onb "solar farms" for their energy needs. It time we pull ourselves together and get off the tit. ***NEWS*** Oil spill in California yesterday and Oil spill in Alaska, aka Valdez spill, after 20 years most areas still not cleaned and compensation still not paid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Although Exxon Mobil recorded record profits.

Don't give an inch!

President Bush and Bill Nelson opened up thousands of square miles for oil drilling and none of the "land" has been drilled. Now Obama is agreeing to open up more "land" for drilling. And the Florida Legislature study found that the oil available is small in terms of the world economy. It could never change the oil and gasoline prices; it could never reduce our dependency on foreign oil; it will not produce many jobs in Florida; and the owners of the drilling companies and refineries are not in Florida so corporate income taxes will not be collected here either. There is really nothing but risk for Florida. There is no upside at all. How can any Floridian actually see any benefit to drilling near Florida? When will the relentless pressure ever end? Even if they spill oil and ruin our seafood supply/industry and tourism they will still want to drill. We should not give them ONE MORE INCH!