America Back to Work; Drilling Commences in Florida
I am a sailor. I have been a sailor for many years, both a racing sailor and also one who likes to poke around and just enjoy the environment. As a sailor I am also somewhat of an environmentalist, and all of the sailors I know are also environmentalists – not environmentalist extremists, but environmentalists who also realize that there must be some balance in our concerns. I decided long ago after traveling to many places around the world that the most beautiful places of all were observed at sea or in a bay – looking back at the water and the coastlines of my own country. I am a citizen of Florida in the U.S. and also a summer resident of Rhode Island. In both places I have had some poke-around boats (MacGregor 26 and Point Jude 16) and a racing sailboat (Ranger 21). In my mind the most beautiful of all places is called the Great Salt Pond in Galilee, Rhode Island, with its clear green waters and abundant marine life, although the Peace River in Florida comes close with its teeming flocks of breeding wood storks in February and March every year and its Amazon-like vegetation.
But I also realize that the greatest advances in the human condition came about when the energy contained in fossil fuels, especially petroleum, was harnessed. Until then the vast majority of human beings lived short lives of drudgery, poverty and despair – in contrast to the very few members of royalty or the society of the very rich. Perhaps younger generations who were born to 75 year old lifetimes and great abundance cannot fathom what life could have been like for most of the billions of people who were born and lived prior to the 20th century.
I will gladly sail around the rigs off the coast of Florida and Rhode Island to save and continue to improve the lives and standards of living of human beings, the most important inhabitants of this planet. If there is a spill, I will regret it and go to work to contain it and clean it up, but until something else that makes economic sense comes along to replace oil, I want it to be plentiful and cheap, and I want it to come from wells in America.
Companies begin quest for oil, gas off Fla. coast
By MELISSA NELSON
Associated Press Writer July 5, 2008 (Excerpt)
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- "Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost prohibitive”. Politicians feared even the slightest sign of support would be career suicide.
No more. Record crude oil prices are fueling support for oil and natural gas exploration off the nation's shores. In Florida, movement was underway even before President Bush called on Congress last month to lift a federal moratorium that's barred new offshore drilling since 1981.
The early activity here stems from a 2006 Congressional compromise that allows drilling on 8.3 million acres more than 125 miles off the Panhandle - an area that had been covered by the moratorium, which was enacted out of environmental concerns.
In exchange, the state got a no-drilling buffer along the rest of its beaches.
Florida may turn out to be a prelude for other coastal states. If oil or natural gas deposits are found in the newly opened region, experts say it could further the push to explore other once-protected areas everywhere. It also could be a rallying point for critics, who say the new exploration isn't a license to expand exploration.
With gas topping $4 a gallon, recent polls show Americans, Floridians included, more supportive of drilling in protected areas. Some politicians - including Gov. Charlie Crist - have switched sides.
"We think the public is way out ahead of the politicians on these issues. People are more open to (offshore drilling) now," said Tom Moskitis, spokesman for the American Gas Association, a trade group.
At the same time, oil companies, driven by the record energy price, are more willing to risk $100 million or more to begin exploring new regions. The Interior Department estimates there could be 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the 574 million acres of federal coastal waters that are now off-limits.”
Although it will be many years before we see oil from new exploration and drilling, the Democrats tell us that most of the price increase is caused by speculators. To the extent that this may be true (and I believe the basic factors in the oil price increases are due to market conditions and to the decline in the dollar), the news that the U.S. is going to start drilling in a major way in Florida, in ANWR and off our coasts will soon collapse the speculation and bring the price down fast. These Congressional Democrats and Senator Obama shouldn’t be so giddy about having helped raise the price of oil to the point where it is bankrupting millions of northern families trying to stay warm and raising the price of every product made from or transported by oil. On the weekend when we celebrate our independence, we can hopefully look forward to a time of real independence in our energy needs.