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Voters: Offshore Energy Is Good for Florida

July 9, 2018 - 9:45am

Voters, beware. Florida faces a tough election season this year, with a lengthy ballot and multiple key federal, state and local positions up for grabs. Floridians will be inundated with information over the next few months, and it’s up to us to discern fact from fiction. We should support candidates who have Florida’s best interest in mind and will deliver on policy promises once in office. 

In my mind, one of the most important factors to consider when making decisions at the ballot box is energy policy.  

Despite the fear mongering and scare tactics used by radical environmentalists, oil and natural gas are essential to Floridians’ quality of life. We must support safe energy development for the good of all Americans, and this includes expansion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) program to explore our resources offshore.  

Radical environmentalists continue to focus on the supposed “dangers” offshore energy exploration poses to our state’s tourism economy and temporarily scuttled plans for seismic tests along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coastlines. They don’t mention all the rules, regulations and safe modern engineering techniques in place to protect the environment. 

Make no mistake about it, I care about the health of Florida’s coastal environment. However, unlike some on the other side of the political aisle, I also like to deal in truths. So, let’s start with the basics:

Seismic surveys, or the process by which pulsing sound waves gives us a view at the available resources beneath the ocean floor, is one of the safest and most reliable means of energy exploration available today. But don’t take my word for it. According to Dr. William Brown, chief environmental officer for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, “there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities.”  

In fact, these surveys are frequently used by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and the renewable energy industry. After more than 30 years, we would have noticed adverse events from seismic tests by now.  

And, in terms of lifting up a struggling middle class, energy delivers. If given the green light, offshore energy exploration is projected to support more than 56,000 jobs in Florida -- at an average salary of $116,000 An additional $2.6 billion per year would also be spent by the energy companies directly benefitting Florida’s economy within 20 years. 

As an American veteran, I must mention our men and women in uniform who are making many sacrifices overseas. Instead of keeping our troops stationed in some of the most hostile areas of the world protecting the energy infrastructure of volatile regimes, why don’t we secure our own energy future and bring them home? As long as our economy depends on oil and natural gas, it has to come from somewhere. That somewhere should be right here at home as we become energy independent by using all forms of energy. 

The upcoming midterm election presents an opportunity for Floridians: Will our new elected officials listen to facts, or buckle under pressure from those who deal in misinformation? Only you can ultimately decide. Choose wisely.  

Dennis O. Freytes is an American Veteran, member of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame and the Florida chair for Vets4Energy.

Comments

What would happen to Florida tourism if the state had no power. What if electricity stopped, gas stations no longer provided fuel, airplanes no longer came... what if the business that use power had to close. Tourism would for certain stop. Yes, it is easier to rely on others to provide what we need, but that should not be the American way. The US was built by those willing to share the load, play a role, take a risk and sometimes put it all on the line for this country. Not just take handouts. Florida should do it's part in providing the energy our country demands.

Good plan and well written sir!

My understanding was that Vets4Energy is supposed to be a non-partisan organization supporting an “all of the above” energy policy that ties energy security with national security....doesn’t sound much like it in this clearly partisan, pro oil and gas article. In linking oil and gas exploration in waters off of Florida’s coast with partisan politics and mid-term elections, I believe the author exceeds the founding principles of the Vets4Energy organization. I say this as a former member of Vets4Energy and a former Florida Chair for the organization, who in part left the organization due to its growing partisan political posture, the direct ties to and strong influence by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and its associated subset organizations, and its fossil fuel-centric approach to energy independence for the nation. While I am concerned with the environment as every American should be, I am far from being a “radical”. I believe that energy security is a key aspect of national security, but so is the training, testing and evaluation of our military men and women, along with the development of their weapons, equipment, and war-fighting capability, and who depend on open access to areas such as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for both classified and unclassified mission operations critical to National Security. In addressing this subject, I have the benefit of being a former Wing Commander at Tyndall AFB in Panama City that operated in the Eastern Gulf airspace, and that experience coupled with the last several years researching this topic, I can unequivocally vouch that oil and gas exploration and the extensive military operations by the Air Force and Navy in the Eastern Gulf are not compatible and will not successfully coexist. To open the Eastern Gulf to oil and gas drilling goes beyond potential environmental concerns, and would be a devastating blow to Navy and Air Force operations, testing and evaluation, along with the daily training conducted by Florida’s military bases above, on and below the surface of the Eastern Gulf....and would harm, not enhance our National Security. I would hope any veteran of our Armed Forces would understand these truths as more important to our national security than their support for the oil and gas industry.”

Long-term Veterans have one commonality - passion. Rarely will, or should, any one group (i.e. "Veterans") have 100% agreement. But I have seen many flag officers from all branches disagree with your opinion that offshore would have a negative effect on military operations. We are not talking about tossing a billion legos into the water, nor un-coordinated chaos. This is complex, high-technology, modern approaches. Surely our planes, ships and subs can navigate around a structure on the ocean. PS1 - Isn't the Dept. of Defense the largest user of fuel in the world? Where does that come from? PS2 - When you can, see what fuel supplements wind or solar when the sun is down and wind doesn't blow. We need all sources of energy as we transition to cleaner.

Vets simply need to stand up for the Gulf Test & Training Range. The congressional staffs of the Florida Panhandle are very aware of the value that our test range brings to the economy of Florida. Those who say that the oil drilling is compatible with the mission of the Gulf Test & Training Range are very mistaken. This DoD Mission is critical for delivering the military services new capabilities that the men and women of DoD need in their combat units. Drilling east of the Military Mission Line is incompatible with the operations of our range. it's really as simple as that. That area needs to be 'off limits' to the oil industry's demands.

Allow me to throw the BS flag on this shill for Big Oil. This environment candidate actually worked for 5 years in the Gulf as an Offshore Drilling Fluid Engineer and has Certification from the Univ of Texas in subsea well control (Blowout Prevention). The Regulations we operated under, which could have prevented the Deepwater Horizon disaster, were "relaxed" by the Bush oil friendly administration because down time for testing costs big money. Florida waters are some of the most dangerous on the planet for drilling and the Limestone freshwater aquifers on land could be destroyed by drilling and fracking. Big Oil only wants the money and you may be left with the disaster. Clark Anderson, Candidate for FL House Dist 30.

How stupid does the author think Floridians are? If you didn't learn the lesson thanks to BP, you're hopeless.

Is this guy for real? Must be a joke.

Pure, unadulterated bu**sh**!

What an uninformed politician.

"Vets4Energy" is effectively a public-relations front for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's largest trade association, PR firm, and lobbying wing. Enough said.

The author starts off his article with "radical environmentalists". Yes, lets demonize anyone in Florida who cares about clean water and air and call them radical. How dear they want clean water, safe seafood, and pure air. I mean that is just radical!! I too am a veteran, so lets get off the kick about not sending the military overseas to secure cheap oil. That is going to happen anyway with the oil companies in firm control and measuring out fuel to sustain a certain price point. I love how these out-of-state carpet baggers come into Florida, want to rape the environment, take their bags of cash, and then retire to where it is cheap and they have clean water and air. You know what? Stay out of Florida! We do not need or want your offshore drilling, oil clots on the beach, and ugly derricks spewing waste.

Burn your credentials. I can care less if you're a veteran. You lose credibility because Florida relies on its beaches for tourism across the state. You rely on regulations, but this argument fails since the Trump EPA has slashed regulations for air and water. One screw up to meet a deadline can cause a massive catastrophic disaster that money does not fix. Go burn your credentials, we don't need people like you trying to tell us what we need. We have been doing quite well without your oil.

Maybe Florida can entice BP to do some more deep water drilling. What could possibly go wrong? Also, as an additional bonus, catastrophic spill cleanups creates jobs. Of course there are always fools such as Disney World management who think Florida gets enough sunlight to use solar power for their energy requirements. Disney obviously knows nothing about efficient profitability, right? Now that we are in the 21st century there are those who believe Florida needs to return to increasing use of 19th and early 20th century forms of energy and continue Florida's proud tradition of backward thinking. Or we could plan a different direction and elect those who do not embrace backward thinking. Florida needs to be taking steps to wean itself from fossil fuel energy while increasing development of a balanced array of renewable energy sources. It's your call Florida.

You, Sir, are not a native Floridian, nor do you probably remember Deepwater Horizon and what it did to our Gulf, tourism, jobs supporting tourism, virtually everything. There really is no plausible argument to drill in the water rather than from the shore, except cash, so take your misinformation back to where you came from, probably up north some where...

Oil spills in Alaska and Gulf Coast created massive environmental damage. Better that damage should be in Iraq or Saudi Arabia. We don't need our fish and sea life killed and our beaches polluted to put billions of dollars more into the bank accounts of oil billionaires

Seth, the oil wells in Iraq and Saudi Arabia are on land.

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