OUR POSITION: Any thought of drilling for oil and gas off Florida’s coastline needs to be squashed.
Here we go again.
Can anyone believe, with a crucial presidential election coming up, that President Trump is even considering opening up the Gulf and Florida’s tourist-rich coastline to oil and gas drilling? No one is denying the report that came out last week even though it is difficult to fathom Trump would risk such an endeavor in a state he must win to be reelected.
This is not the first time the idea of oil and gas drilling in Florida has surfaced. But the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil disaster in 2010 that killed 11 people and spilled millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf should have buried that notion. The idea of more drilling in the Gulf should be as dead in the water as the fish, birds and wildlife that washed up on the shores of the Panhandle after that disaster.
Not so, according to Politico, an Arlington, Virginia based news organization that covers Washington, D.C. and national politics.
Trump wants the United States to be the world’s premier producer of fossil fuels and energy. And the potential for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be too enticing for him to ignore.
A year ago, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, made it clear to new Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt that a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico should be extended beyond 2022. He got no guarantees, but he made Florida’s position clear.
Our state’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL., along with House members and Gov. Ron DeSantis have — in a united, bipartisan voice — recently reiterated their opposition to drilling in the Gulf.
Furthermore, DeSantis, a close political ally of President Trump, has said he would be “raising Cain” with the administration if Florida was ever included in wider plans to explore our offshore waters for gas and oil deposits.
“We’re just not a state for that,” DeSantis said a year ago. “...our entire state is coastline. You have a mishap, it has a cascading effect. Whatever jobs would be created (by drilling) could be undercut by chilling tourism.”
DeSantis made our argument quite clearly.
What is so alarming is Trump’s idea to wait a couple of months until after the November elections to announce his plan. That is not only according to Politico but other well-placed sources. The story has been circulating in Washington for a week or more and no one in the administration, nor Trump, has issued a denial.
If Trump wins in November, he will not have to answer to voters in Florida again, and will have a clear path to push for drilling off our coast.
It’s not too early for DeSantis, Sens. Scott and Rubio along with our members of the House to put a stop to any notion of drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Already a delegation of Democrats and Republicans, including Matt Gaetz, R-FL, one of Trump’s biggest fans, have questioned the Department of the Interior on any plan for drilling and urged it to scrap any such plans.
The Deepwater Horizon tragedy should have been a lesson for everyone. Florida, whose economy will possibly be reeling from the coronavirus pandemic for years, would suffer terribly if another oil spill ruined our beaches.
Don’t even think about drilling for oil. Not now. Not ever.