New report says oil drilling will harm Florida coasts listen12/02/09 Lauren Martinez
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The 3 to 10 miles the Florida Legislature controls off the stateâ€™s coastline has caught the attention of oil lobbyists who want to remove the drilling ban. Environment Florida and the Sierra Club today held a news conference discussing their new report regarding this debate, Oceans under the Gun.
Last spring oil lobbyists came to the state pushing to remove the ban on near-shore drilling. They see drilling as the cure-all for the economyâ€™s problems. But Phil Compton, the Regional Representative for Sierra Club, remembers the 10 weeks of clean up both Indonesia and Australia experienced when a spill occurred in the Timor Sea in August.
â€œ...The rig that went â€˜Ka-ploeeâ€™ off in Australiaâ€™s coast was a new rig same kind that theyâ€™re saying would be safe here. If they were an accident of that magnitude here, it would cover the entire coast of Florida. All of our beaches would be covered with oil and that impact would last for decades. Thatâ€™s not something were willing to risk,â€ says Phil Compton.
The risks involve humans and animals. Oil spills release harmful chemicals like lead and mercury into the waters, which then contaminate the fish we eat, causing harmful impact in humans such as reproductive and developmental problems. Adam Rivera, an advocate with Environment Florida, questions what companies these lobbyists represent.
â€˜These lobbyists never told us and still havenâ€™t told us what companies they represent. I think thatâ€™s a big deal for Floridians. We donâ€™t know anything about the environmental track record of these companies. Whether theyâ€™d be willing to assume liability for a catastrophic accident like a major spill, and thatâ€™s a pretty big deal,â€ says Adam Rivera.
On the 13th of February, a demonstration called Hands across the Sand, will take place; Floridians will make a long line on a lot of different beaches to demonstrate oppostion to near-shore drilling.