U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says drilling plan would destroy Florida
From U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's prepared remarks to be delivered soon on the Senate floor about the new drilling plan (the dark blue area above would be open to drilling, storage and refinery operations):
Three years ago, Congress opened up eight million new acres to drilling in exchange for keeping the Eastern Gulf off limits to drilling until 2022. We made an agreement, and that agreement is the current law: no drilling that would destroy Florida’s economy within at least 100 miles of the shore.
Why are some people pushing to change this so soon after its passage? The oil industry, that’s why. The oil industry already has 32 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico that are leased but are not even being drilled. And even though the industry handpicked areas opened up in 2006, it now feels it can make more of a profit by drilling closer to Florida’s coast. I don’t think Florida should have to trash its coastline and its economy just so big oil can increase its profit margin.
Of course there are far more serious implications to national security if we were to do this. The eastern Gulf of Mexico is the last unfettered training range for all our military pilots and the Pentagon has stated drilling activities are incompatible with training.
Now, let me tell you what we would do to Florida if the Congress approved this so-called energy policy bill. Look at this picture. This is the coastline of Louisiana.
Drilling 10 miles off the coast of Florida would destroy the nation’s fourth largest state. It would convert Florida’s world class beaches to an industrial coastline. We would trade in the world top beaches and tourist draws for an industrial wasteland dotted with transmission pipes and storage tanks and oil rigs.