By Dave Mica
While environmental activists continue to push the same weak claims for opposing offshore energy exploration and production despite successful operations elsewhere in the Gulf, there are 56,000 reasons why Florida should open its waters to exploration. That’s the number of high-paying Florida jobs we could see by 2035 if we embrace our offshore opportunities, and the benefits don’t stop there.
In addition to jobs, additional offshore oil and gas production could positively impact:
National security: Why depend on foreign, often hostile, sources of energy when we have the potential to secure our own resources here at home?
Exports: With abundant, domestic energy resources, the U.S. can be the world’s energy leader, creating jobs at home and enhancing security for our allies abroad. Win-win.
Increased Safety: Offshore operations today are safer than ever before. Since 2010, more than 100 standards have been created or strengthened, including for improved safety and environmental management, well design, blowout prevention, and spill response.
Price at the pump: Every barrel of oil we produce domestically adds stability to the global oil supply, putting downward pressure on prices. As the third largest consumer of motor fuels in the U.S., Florida benefits from greater domestic energy production and has the potential to significantly contribute to it as well.
Environmental Protection: Florida has received more than $908 million in federal funding over the past five decades to conserve our precious natural and historic treasures. That funding comes from oil and natural gas revenues. We can safely produce energy and use the revenues for important environmental conservation throughout the state. Another win-win.
Hurricane disruptions: Everyone in Florida knows the potential damage hurricanes can have on our daily lives and livelihoods. Further diversification of our nationwide energy infrastructure network would help prevent disruptions to gasoline supply after storms.
Energy conservation: Greater use of natural gas for electricity generation has helped drive U.S. carbon emissions to 25-year lows. Florida is on the front lines of this exciting trend, generating more than 60 percent of our electricity from clean, affordable natural gas and demonstrating that energy production and environmental progress are not mutually exclusive.
Florida’s Tourism Economy: Decades of experience in the Gulf of Mexico confirm that energy development can safely coexist with fishing and tourism, as state officials with firsthand experience enthusiastically attest.
The facts support taking advantage of Florida’s offshore energy resources. Florida families and businesses already benefit from offshore energy exploration—from the sidelines. By getting in the game, we can grow our economy and be part of making the nation more energy secure.