Saturday, May 31, 2008

Florida Politicians Block Resources to End High Gas Prices

The next time you fuel up and don't like the prices, look to Florida politicians, Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson, for the blame. We (Floridians) have the greatest amount of offshore oil as yet untapped, and our own state politicians are standing in the way of harvesting it. High fuel prices are a huge threat to Florida's economy and tourism, not to mention the wallets of each and every one of us. But apparently, rich coastal residents are more concerned with the view out their balcony windows than ending our dependence on foreign oil.

I don't know about you, but this gets my hackles up. Add yet another item to the list of government interference that dips into the American peoples' pocket books.

Drill, Coast Haste
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Energy Security: With the prospect of an oil shortage and $12 [gallon] gas, the energy crisis is turning into a national emergency. One solution: Give states the option to develop offshore tracts.

Uncle Sam bans states from drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf mainly to protect the environment. Some 85% of the U.S. coastline is off-limits to energy production — including huge reserves off Florida's coast, which China is exploiting in Cuban waters.

China? We are letting China have our oil????
To change that, a lawmaker is offering a novel idea. Rep. Sue Myrick of the House Energy and Commerce panel wants to let coastal states decide whether drilling is environmentally risky. She has introduced a bill that would give coastal states that want offshore drilling the power to opt out of the Interior Department's offshore restrictions.

And as a powerful incentive, Myrick, R-N.C., proposes cutting them (and adjacent states) in on the federal revenues from leases. Washington now collects as much as $8 billion a year in existing Gulf royalties, a figure that would balloon as coastal regions opened for exploration.

Her Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act would give states the ability to control energy production up to 100 miles off their shores and would extend their territorial waters.

The biggest energy finds are off Florida's coast. But the state's congressional delegation in Washington has almost single-handedly kept the national drilling moratorium in effect for the past 25 years — while keeping potentially millions of additional barrels a day of supply off the market.

That was when gas prices were $2 a gallon or less. They've since doubled, and now threaten to hurt Florida's tourism industry. The governor, fearing high pump prices will spook tourists, is trying to slash the state's gas tax.

Tallahassee also faces big budget deficits from a statewide recession, and may warm up to the federal revenue-sharing idea. Under Myrick's bill, state legislatures can vote to end federal restrictions and allow drilling.

But the bill faces major hurdles. Even if Myrick can get the House panel's Democrat chair,
Rep. John Dingell, to take it up, it would face stiff opposition in the Senate. Florida Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson have blocked previous attempts to lift the ban on drilling — although Martinez, a Republican, lately has shown signs of softening.

Foes have successfully cloaked their arguments against offshore drilling in eco-apocalypse, claim it will lead to oil spills. Fearing tar-ball-pocked beaches, the tourism industry has joined the greens in lobbying against such bills.
Wonderful. Our own tourism has joined with the tree-huggers. Look to Oregon and their screwed-up economy in an effort to save a field mouse. The government isn't the only one who needs to do their homework!
Their fears are unfounded. And politicians concerned about America's energy security ought to do a better job educating the public with the facts. For example:

• Less than one one-thousandth of a percent (0.001%) of the 7 billion-plus barrels of oil that Washington has allowed to be produced offshore over the past 25 years has been spilled, according to the Interior Department.

• A whopping 63% of petro pollution in North American seas comes not from offshore rigs, but from natural seepage from the sea floor. Source: National Academy of Sciences.

• There hasn't been a major oil spill from an offshore well since 1969 even though rigs since then have been lashed by Katrina and other major hurricanes.
Don't we pay our politicians to serve the public? And doesn't that include making intelligent decisions based on accurate research? When will the American public wake up and begin voting with some sort of logic? Why are we allowing these politicians to stay in office when they continue to rape us daily through their ignorance?
Today's drilling operations are safer and cleaner. Offshore operators are subject to at least 17 major permits and must follow 90 sets of federal regulations. Clean beaches can coexist with offshore production. The mammoth reserves can be captured with little risk to the environment.

In fact, the government estimates that 50% of our undiscovered oil lies offshore. It's time to let states go after it.

Write to
Rep. Sue Myrick and tell her you appreciate her efforts to help end the energy crisis.

Write to
Rep. John Dingell and encourage him to support Rep. Sue Myrick.

Write to the overbearing, arrogant politicians below and express your views on this issue. Don't forget to tell them you vote, and they won't be getting that vote in the future should they decide to ignore you.

Senator Mel Martinez

Senator Bill Nelson

Read more about the energy crisis here. That is, if you want to be informed. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Ride safe. Ride free.... if you can afford the gas.

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