New report says oil drilling will harm Florida coasts
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12/02/09 Lauren Martinez
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Sierra Club's Phil Compton says Florida's beaches, like this one on Sand Key in Pinellas County, are worth protecting from near-shore oil drilling.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF (Sept. 2009)

The 3 to 10 miles the Florida Legislature controls off the state’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 economy’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.

“...The rig that went ‘Ka-ploee’ off in Australia’s coast was a new rig same kind that they’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. That’s not something were willing to risk,” 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.

‘These lobbyists never told us and still haven’t told us what companies they represent. I think that’s a big deal for Floridians. We don’t know anything about the environmental track record of these companies. Whether they’d be willing to assume liability for a catastrophic accident like a major spill, and that’s a pretty big deal,” 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.

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Stop Drilling in Florida

Can' the oil guys thimnk of any other way to make money? How stupid is that?

Hazardous Materials Engineer

Oh, for pity's sake. We KNOW who these lying lobbyists represent. Hint: they posted RECORD-SHATTERING PROFITS every single quarter during the bushdick regime. Hm, let's see, where did George & company make their billions? Aside from treason and theft, that is. Get it through your heads, once and for all: THERE IS NO OIL OFF OF FLORIDA. The oil companies' plan is to take all their nasty obsolete equipment offshore and just dump it overboard, then claim a tax write-off for "exploration drilling" and "equipment loss." If you want "a cure for the economy's problems," tax the hell out of the oil company executives, and use that to subsidize construction workers to put in backyard windmills, passive-solar roofs, and upgraded electrical systems. Can't outsource THOSE jobs, or run up the price on stock-market speculation. The reichwingnuts sneer at environmentalism, as if they didn't need air to breathe and could drink their own urine. But in terms of sheer practicality, drilling for oil is a lost cause in every single point on their phony charts. Simple wind and passive solar wins at every turn. The only place oil money wins is, well, to put it politely, bribery and blackmail.

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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!

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