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FFRP Opposes Plan to Fast Track Oil Drilling

October 1st, 2009

Floridians for Responsible Policy Opposes Plan to Fast-Track Off-Shore Oil Drilling

BACKGROUND: As our planet’s natural energy resources become increasingly scarce, the United States faces extreme competition from other established and developing countries for those precious resources. As the nation struggles to coalesce around a comprehensive strategy, governments and private interests are increasingly pursuing more parochial solutions to their immediate energy needs and as such, are gradually complicating the ability of our country to pursue a coordinated energy policy. The country faces serious decisions going forward whether to pursue nuclear energy, expand drilling for petroleum products, exploring wind and solar technologies and of course, serious energy conservation measures.

ANALYSIS: Accordingly, we have an obligation to examine any and all energy options as part of a comprehensive national energy strategy that protects the country’s energy future. It would be irresponsible to pursue a national energy security policy that does not acknowledge the important role of domestically-produced petroleum whether it be from on-shore or off. However, it would be equally irresponsible to recklessly auction off parcels of our ocean floor to petroleum producers without a thoughtful reasoned debate that rightfully recognizes the costs and benefits of such action. This is an extremely serious debate with global ramifications and should be treated as such. Any effort by our state legislature to bypass a thorough debate and hastily force such an outcome is a disservice to the public and borders on negligence. Our position is predicated on the following:

• This is a National Imperative: Our state should play a major role in helping the country define its energy future. However, state legislatures – including ours – should not act unilaterally and complicate the efforts of our country’s leaders to craft a meaningful and comprehensive energy strategy. For our state to hastily begin issuing oil leases is counter to our national interests.

• This is About Energy – Not Revenues: This issue should be looked at through the strategic long-term lens of energy policy, not the short-term lens of trying to balance state budgets from the sale of leasing rights. Doing so cheapens the debate and diverts the attention of elected officials, the press and the public from the vitally important issues at stake.

• The Ends Don’t Justify the Means: This is a very serious issue and lawmakers have an obligation to treat it accordingly. It calls for thorough study, vigorous debate and significant public input. Anything less de-legitimizes the outcome, poorly serves the needs of the public, and further erodes public trust in our elected officials and government. Long term national priorities should not be cast aside in favor of a perceived short term revenue boost.

SUMMARY: National energy security is too important to our country’s future to be used as a political pawn to achieve a short-term political interest. We don’t oppose off-shore oil drilling – in fact, we think it is a legitimate component of a comprehensive national energy policy that equally challenges us to conserve as well as produce. What we do oppose is the efforts by some to quickly and hastily force such an important issue through the legislative process without a thorough and detailed public vetting. If off-shore drilling is really merited, than it should be able to stand the test of reasoned debate in the full light of day. Anything less shortchanges our state, our citizens and our national interests.