Discussions surrounding offshore drilling continue to intensify as the Trump administration considers plans to expand the national Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) program.
Unfortunately, fear-mongering continues to be evident, and the latest case is news coverage surrounding a recent report released by the Pentagon. Some news articles may lead you to believe that the report indicates resistance from the Department of Defense (DOD) against drilling; however when one actually reads the report, it is evident the DOD is ready and willing to collaborate with the oil and natural gas industry so long as offshore exploration does not interfere with military operations.
This should be viewed as a positive step forward for the industry and a reaffirmed commitment that energy production and military training can peacefully co-exist. Safe seismic testing and offshore energy exploration continues to be one of the best ways to keep our nation secure while fulfilling our American citizens’ energy needs, all the while strengthening our economy.
It is undeniable that our country relies on energy. Nearly every moment of every day, from alarm clocks waking us up in the morning and washing our clothes, to driving to work and charging our cell phones. Energy also helps fuel important industries such as medicine, manufacturing, agriculture and even the arts. Despite our ever-increasing energy needs, our country continues to rely on foreign countries for our oil and natural gas supply.
As a veteran of war, I can tell you that America will never be entirely secure unless it is energy independent. Already, countries like Russia and China have advanced in independence due to their exploration in offshore drilling. Historically the U.S. has been a leader in development but may face a global disadvantage if dependence on other countries for energy resources continues.
Contrary to opposing claims, offshore drilling comes with many benefits and can occur simultaneously with military training without hindering the progressive development of each. The more natural gas sourced, the higher the air quality yielded for America’s coastal communities. New advances in technology ensure that marine animals would not be negatively affected by drilling.
Offshore drilling provides a way to achieve independence from other nations and will create an estimated 56,000 new jobs for Florida’s residents. In addition to new jobs, developing energy resources offshore could bring in $2.6 billion in state revenue every year.
If we depend on other countries for energy our national security is weakened. Drilling that occurs within proper regulations will benefit our nation’s military and advance security within the U.S. The benefits of offshore drilling simply cannot be denied.
Here in Florida, we will see Amendment 9 on the ballot this November. This amendment would constitutionally ban offshore drilling off state waters, and is duplicative and unnecessary, especially because a federal moratorium already exists. It is imperative to also consider the permanency of the constitution – when innovation happens daily in the energy industry, it does not make sense to ban a key oil development method when we do not know what the future holds.
I encourage Floridians to use resources such as Vets4Energy or the Florida Energy Forum to learn more about offshore energy exploration. It is in our best interest as citizens to be responsible, educated voters leading up to the November election to ensure Florida’s energy future continues to shine bright. A reliable energy supply is the best way to protect Florida’s future for generations to come.
Mark Alvarez is a retired U.S. Army veteran and a member of Vets4Energy Florida.
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