Just days into the new year, some members of the Florida congressional delegation unveiled a proposal to permanently ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico to federal waters, dozens of miles offshore, far out of sight and away from any fishing or recreational activities. Supporters claim these steps, if approved, will help Floridians. We’re listening to our constituents, they say.
Not many of them.
Floridians spend, on average, more than $2,500 annually on energy expenses. That’s a taxing amount for many, especially the nearly 3 million in poverty statewide who regularly see a dangerously-high, double-digit percentage of their take-home pay go toward energy expenses that could be lower under the right set of policies.
Advocating for an energy plan that increases domestic supplies of all resources -- oil, natural gas, wind and solar, onshore and off, and in the safest methods possible -- is the only way to balance the supply-demand equation and reduce energy expenses for these households, especially as the state’s population increases and energy demand climbs.
It would also increase economic opportunities inland and across the shoreline, via upticks in jobs and tax revenue. This would help put more Floridians back to work and help more families make ends meet. It would also help fund critical municipal services including schools, road repairs and local emergency response personnel, plus aid beautification enhancements.
Thanks to improved techniques and state-of-the-art technologies, plus the safest set of regulations in the world, Florida has what it needs to make and transport its own energy safely. Now, it just needs the right regulatory climate, and this proposal doesn’t cut it.
Kevin Doyle is the Florida state director of Consumer Energy Alliance. He lives in Jacksonville.