10-30-2009, 08:46 AM #151
a little morning reading
Our Opinion: Complex issue
Tallahassee Democrat, 10/30/2009
Our Opinion: Complex issue | tallahassee.com | Tallahassee Democrat
A public forum at the studios of 4FSU on Wednesday on whether Florida should lift its long ban on drilling for oil and natural gas off our coastline was good conversation and debate. Thousands of people tuned in on radio, TV and the Internet. Hundreds posted comments on our live interactive blog and still more followed the debate on Twitter.
The point is this: Both sides of this debate have the attention of many Floridians; but every Floridian has a stake in this debate.
Conversations like the debate sponsored by the Tallahassee Democrat, Gannett Florida properties and Florida State University are good, but can only go so far in finding answers to the hundreds of questions presented by our readers and viewers. That can be frustrating to time-starved citizens who want all the answers in one neat setting.
But this issue is too complex for that.
That's why Florida State University has a second local event planned for Monday. FSU will a present a symposium featuring some of the foremost experts and academics on this topic in the world. It will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the University Center Club. Gannett Florida State Editor Paul Flemming, who moderated our debate, will also moderate this event. A complete list of panelists is available at Http://www.ieses.fsu.edu. Online registration is available at FSU Center for Professional Development.
It is also why Gannett Florida newspapers and TV stations are working together to produce a comprehensive-coverage project on this issue scheduled for release at the end of November.
Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, took part in our debate. Despite that, the Legislature isn't going to decide whether to lift the ban on exploration based on any one event. Nor is this issue going to be decided purely based on public opinion polls, and that is good.
Yet all of these things must be considered.
This might be the most important public debate going on in Florida over the last decade. The outcome may affect future Floridians for years to come. If you are not yet tuned in, now is the time. If you have not yet started to do research, now is the time. FSU is doing what an educational institution of higher learning ought to do: providing opportunities for greater public understanding of vital issues.
This much is clear: At some point, the Legislature will take up the issue of whether to lift the ban on drilling off Florida's coast, and whatever lawmakers decide, you will be personally impacted.
We applaud Haridopolos and Cannon for listening, for attempting to become better educated on the issues as seen by citizens. We urge them to continue to stay involved in public events, to keep listening and ultimately to do what is right for Florida and its future.
10-30-2009, 08:50 AM #152
Paul Flemming: Two sides are entrenched in oil debate
Tallahassee Democrat, 10/30/2009
To drill or not to drill ... is that really the question?
It's a passionate debate, one that's been going on in Florida for decades with an environmentalist ebb and an oil flow. It's now back in the spotlight as the blitzkrieg attack of the spring for the latest proposal to open Florida's Gulf coastal waters to oil and natural gas exploration now gives way to a ground campaign aimed at next spring's legislative session and beyond.
On Wednesday, I moderated a debate between advocates on both sides of the drilling question, with Sen. Mike Haridopolos and Rep. Dean Cannon along for the discussion and "listening" as they propounded their support.
As with so much in American politics, the neutral middle of undecideds seems ever slimmer as those who've made up their minds -- citizens and politicians alike -- fire volleys at each other.
Wednesday night, there was as much heat as light. An indicator of the ideological divide comes from questions asked. From all around the state, the queries and their tone were instructive.
A reader from Tallahassee asked how oil and gas drilling would delay alternative-fuel developments. A viewer from Tampa asked how we'd be able to develop alternative-energy options without the tantalizing possibility of state revenue from drilling.
One question from Sanibel said a spill in the Timor Sea showed that Australia's beaches were endangered by drilling. Another viewer from Gulf Breeze said Australia was able to extract resources in its waters and maintain its beautiful beaches, so why not Florida?
The same material is used by advocates on both sides to make their separate points. That tells me people are making decisions on ideological grounds, not on the force of facts. Who is undecided on drilling in a seven-mile band that's three miles out in the Gulf of Mexico? Precious few, I suspect.
Who are they?
The group making the big push for the drilling proposal -- Florida Energy Associates -- has spent more than $230,000 hiring a Yankees-level lineup of lobbyists, according to the most recent information, and has also made political contributions of at least $50,000 to Florida Republican and Democratic parties (more given to the controlling GOP).
The reporter-approved modifier for the group is "shadowy, secretive," because the principals putting up the dough have not revealed themselves.
It's a private enterprise, they've not broken any laws and they are within their rights to remain behind the scenes, as far as I know.
But it's a public-relations disaster. On Wednesday, David Rancourt of Southern Strategy Group, the lead lobbying outfit for the group, flat-out refused to put names forward while tantalizing with peripheral information: They're all Americans.
This, of course, only fires up reporters who are further intrigued by information that's withheld. It also makes us wonder about motives. Why, if there were nothing amiss, would you not just say who's bankrolling this operation?
Furthermore, it gives opponents a point of attack that can be easily disarmed by being forthright.
Come out from behind the curtain, wizards of Florida Energy Associates.
Nothing to see here
Is there oil and gas in Florida's waters?
We don't know. There are estimates, but they are exactly that. On Wednesday night, an economist for proponents said if there's nothing out there, so what, what's the cost of allowing exploration, then?
A chief cost would be the near certain end to the existing drilling ban in federal waters off Florida, if the state allowed exploration in its own territorial waters. In 1987, '89, '95 and '98, Florida was able to block federal leases in the Gulf only because of its own ban.
Federal legislation passed in 2006 effectively blocks drilling in the eastern Gulf. But what Congress has done, Congress can undo, and there are plenty of indications that the drilling moratorium is up for a fight to continue to exist.
That's a not insignificant possible impact to lifting Florida's ban.
Wouldn't it be worthwhile to know if Florida Energy Associates would benefit from an end to the ban in federal waters?
# Paul Flemming is the state editor for Gannett's Florida newspapers and floridacapitalnews.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-671-6550.
10-30-2009, 08:54 AM #153
Australia oil spill fuels debate here
Tampa Tribune, 10/30/2009
Australia oil spill fuels debate here
TALLAHASSEE - Aug. 21 was a mess for the oil industry.
That was the day an oil platform off the northern coast of Australia began leaking 300 to 400 barrels of oil a day into the Timor Sea. Reports are that the leak continues, fouling thousands of miles of ocean and threatening marine life.
The spill also poses problems for oil producers trying to persuade Florida's leaders to permit offshore drilling in state waters. Not only did the Australia spill make headlines, it was - and still is - occurring in a part of the world that industry groups had hailed as a hub of safe, high-tech production.
Environmentalists pounced, saying the spill proves modern drilling is unsafe.
The industry contends such events are rare and that opponents are guilty of distortion.
All of which raises the question: Could such an oil leak happen here?
Bill Smith, an Indian Shores councilman, drew a bright line on Oct. 21 between the Australia spill and lifting Florida's ban on offshore drilling.
"Remember, that's 150 miles off the coast - not five or 10, as we're talking about," he told a House panel of lawmakers. "Moreover, drilling proponents have described this technology as safe, state-of-the-art, and the same as would be used here."
A week later, Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch brought up the spill again. "If that had happened off the coast of Florida, our tourism economy would be fatally wounded," Welch said during an energy forum at Florida State University. The Timor Sea oil operation, he said, "is using the same type of new technology that proponents are saying is very safe."
That drew a protest from Terry Cunningham of Lakeland, a 30-year oil industry consultant who told Welch he didn't know what he was talking about. David Rancourt, a lobbyist for an industry group known as Florida Energy Associates, deemed the issue one of misunderstanding.
This year, a pro-drilling coalition that includes Florida Energy Associates produced a brief declaring that "modern energy exploration is environmentally safe" and "new technology is environmentally protective." It also stated that "In Western Australia, visionary leaders are establishing the region as the sub-sea oil and gas capital of the Asia-Pacific, overcoming significant technical challenges through the innovation of undersea oil production technology."
Drilling supporters reportedly made similar statements this summer during public forums across the state. But Ryan Banfill, spokesman for Florida Energy Associates, said those words don't mean what opponents say they mean.
Banfill and Cunningham say "visionary technology" refers to sub-sea oil production. The oil platform that sprang a leak near Australia is a permanent above-surface platform - older technology that below-surface production methods would replace, they said.
"Since the Timor Sea leak started, ... opponents have mischaracterized this point," Banfill said via e-mail.
But the report from the drilling coalition also features explanations and illustrations of "jack-up rigs," temporary above-surface rigs used before the below-surface production phase.
It's the same kind of rig that was drilling at the site of the leaking oil platform off Australia.
Both Australia's government and the Thailand-based owner of the oil platform agree that the oil is emanating from the platform - not the rig. Beyond that, details remain sketchy; no one has confirmed the leak's cause.
In an interview, Cunningham said he thinks the spill likely "had something to do with the drilling - I do believe it was the rig."
That's not the point, he said. "The rig is only as good as the people who are on that rig. The root cause will be human error. No doubt in my mind. The people on the rig made the mistake, and that kind of mistake hasn't happened in the U.S. offshore oil industry in over 40 years. You don't have the same work force there that you do here."
But Cunningham had no specific information about the nationality or training of the Timor Sea crew.
Eileen Angelico, chief of public affairs for the U.S. Minerals Management Service, said the regulatory agency had no such details, either.
Florida Energy Associates continues to stress the newer, below-sea production methods the group is proposing for use in Florida's Gulf waters. But not everyone in the industry is ruling out above-sea platforms.
"I don't know," said Dave Mica, executive director for the Florida Petroleum Council. "Offshore near California, some entities have built an islandesque facility - including a waterfall and palm trees - that has everything disguised. Would XYZ community in Florida want something like that as opposed to nothing visible at all?"
In some locations, he said, leaders might accept a horizon dotted by a platform that represents "jobs, revenues, an American product that's going to help me keep the lights on."
Such a platform would have to meet higher standards than the platform leaking near Australia, U.S. regulators say.
Angelico said that kind of uncontrolled oil flow, or "blowout," would be "highly unlikely" in U.S. waters because her agency never would have approved the engineering design of the well leaking off Australia.
It's hard to speculate about what, if any, role the jack-up rig played in the Australia spill, said Kenneth Schaudt, an oceanographer and meteorologist who has done consulting work for the oil industry. Better context, he said, is the rarity of spills overall.
He cited findings by the nonprofit National Academies that platform spills account for 1 percent of petroleum in North America's waters; natural seeps contribute 60 percent.
Eric Draper, lobbyist for the Audubon Society of Florida, was unmoved. "Australia's a relevant issue because (the oil industry) claimed that drilling is now safe," he said. "And now we have the evidence, in Australia, which is a rig that was built only a few years ago. ... It's our job to take their claims and to unravel them, and that's what we're doing."
Reporter Catherine Dolinski can be reached at (850) 222-8382.
11-01-2009, 06:27 PM #154
Here is a communication to the membership of SWCC , written by Anita Page, who went to Tallahassee this week.
Dear SWCC member,
As you may remember, I attended a hearing in Tallahassee on the issue of allowing oil and gas drilling within 10 miles of our beaches. (and within 3 miles if the commissioners agree) Here is a summary of some of the comments made at that hearing. In addition, there is so much information being developed on this topic that I am setting up a separate database for those members who want to receive all of the info I am receiving and/or researching. If you want to be on that list, please let me know. For everyone else, I will continue to send you highlights.
Synopsis of the Highlights of the Hearing Before the House Energy and Utility Policy Committee on 10/21/09.
Background: Florida holds certain sovereign lands in trust for the people of Florida. Such lands include the submerged lands from the high water mark to approximately 10.3 miles offshore. The Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund administers these public lands. They have the authority to sell or lease them provided any such act in not “contrary to public welfare”.
There is currently a ban on drilling in State waters as well as a Federal ban on oil and gas drilling within 125 miles of the beach in our area. In April, 2009, the Florida House of Representatives voted to remove the ban in State waters. The Senate refused to take up the bill. Proponents have indicated they will re-introduce the bill in the General legislative session in March, 2010. Initially there was some talk of re-introducing the bill in a Special Session in December but I am not aware of any movement to push the issue so soon.
Synopsis of Speaker Comments:
Secretary of FDEP Michael Sole: Since 1947 and before the ban, 19 wells were drilled in State waters. Out of the 19 only one produced a “show”, 15 barrels of oil.
He indicated there was some risk to highly sensitive areas such as the coral reefs in the Keys. He said the probability of a major spill from a rig was low. The higher risk is from the transportation element-pipelines, barges, etc.
He said there were competing uses that must be considered. Examples include access to sand for beach restoration, aquaculture, shipping, fisheries, military operations and alternative energy sources such as wind and harnessing ocean currents. He showed a map of the Gulf off Texas and Louisiana showing numerous pipelines crisscrossing the ocean floor.
With regard to the potential impact on the economy, he looked to other State’s experience. Sole pointed out that Alabama’s revenues from oil and gas drilling in State waters are between 50 and 300 million dollars and the State of Texas receives revenues totally approximately 45 million dollars. (Note: Sole did not mention Louisiana revenue from drilling in State waters. I have found one source that indicates its just over 2 billion but I need to confirm the figure.)
He indicated there did not appear to be significant finds in the Big Bend area. The Pensacola area is more promising.
He pointed out that with oil and gas drilling there are also upland shore support facilities that are necessary to support the drilling activity, e.g.,storage, processing, distribution.
There are no known facts in the “public domain” on exactly how much oil and gas can be produced in State waters.
Following Secretary Sole, both proponents of drilling and those in opposition spoke before the committee. Some of the information differed between presenters as you will see below. There was contradictory information between supporters of drilling and there were challenges to some of the claims relating to spills history, promised revenues, jobs and impact on gas prices. A House researcher was asked to “truth check” facts presented by speakers.
Pro-drilling speakers presented the following comments:
. There is growing public support.
. Will generate 2.5 billion in revenue to the State
. Tar balls on the beach are naturally occurring and cannot necessarily be attributed to oil and gas production.
. Tar balls are in Texas and Louisiana. Prevailing currents won’t bring them to Florida.
. Will employ 20,000 workers in direct energy jobs, 40,000 jobs overall
. Minimal spill impacts from hurricanes
. Drilling is safe for the environment. Will bury pipelines, use subsea technology
. Human error caused large recent spill in Australia. American drilling industry is safer, better trained.
. Tourism will increase if gas prices are lowered. Drilling will lower prices.
. Amount of potential oil in Florida will not lower gas prices alone
. 3:1 ratio of gas to oil
. 10 people on land to support 1 person offshore
. No blowout in U.S. in 40 years
. Will impact Florida by more than 7 Billion dollars per year.
. Jack up rigs will be used for exploration. The actual production pump will be underwater.
. Affiliated Industries of Florida, a leading proponent of drilling presented a power point. It can be viewed at: Associated Industries of Florida
Anti-drilling speakers presented the following comments:
. Research data by Tampa Bay Chamber showed if there were a spill on the beaches, 36.4% of polled visitors said they would go elsewhere in Florida and 50% said they would vacation outside of Florida.
. Florida Association of Convention and Visitors stated tourism in Florida generated 65.5 billion in revenue and employs one million people. They support exploration more than 30 miles from the coast.
. Several speakers were concerned with drilling in Military Mission Zone. (east of 86 degrees, 41 minutes longitude to Tampa area) Walton, offshore, is in this zone.
. A businesswoman from Indian Rocks Beach who runs a vacation rental business presented information on loss of property values.
. Several speakers focused on the U.S. Minerals Management report on oil spills during recent hurricanes. Presented info on spills from rigs, pipelines, and on-shore storage tanks and refineries.
. Several speakers from Tampa Bay area spoke of their experience from the spill in Tampa Bay involving a tanker and its impact on the community.
. Oil and gas activity results in increase in trash on beaches from rigs, crew boats and supply boats
. Network of pipelines may interfere with acquisition of beach quality sand for beach nourishment. One speaker suggested potential sand sources be identified before this issue went much further.
. Several speakers questioned oil companies revenue claims of 2.5 billion dollars as it exceeds both Texas and Alabama. They pointed out that tourism generates 65.5 billion in revenue and a million jobs to the oil company's unsupported claims of 20 to 40,000 jobs. Questions were raised as to the basis for the figures.
. The massive spill from a blowout in Australia was mentioned several times as it employed the “safer”, “state of the art” technology being touted by some oil company representatives. (The Montara platform was built and installed in 2008, and the West Atlas drilling rig, was built in 2007)
. Several speakers focused on the shore facilities and their impact on the community. Oil and gas production requires storage tanks, tanker trucks, docks for crew boats and supply boats, refineries, distribution centers, etc.
. Several speakers said there was insufficient evidence presented as to the quantity of oil expected to be found in State waters and that the beaches were subject to potential damage from exploratory activity which may not produce any results. They cited past dry wells.
. The State is putting a significant revenue engine at risk (tourism) for an undetermined potential source of revenue and the potential for significant environmental and economic damage.
I asked that more public hearings be held and that they be held around the State in affected areas before the bill is re-introduced. I also pointed out the coastal dune lakes as having an ecosystem as rare and valuable as the reefs off the keys.
During my own research I have found the following information:
A blowout is an increased risk in shallower waters. (less than 1,000 feet deep) Deep sea drilling has a reduced risk of a blowout.
Most blowouts from rigs occur during the exploratory drilling.
Much information can be obtained from the MMS website at: Minerals Management Service (MMS)
The Minerals Management Service website documents spills in both oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The pollutants discharged from natural gas wells involve uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons and spills of drilling muds, completion muds, etc. For example, In December of 2008, 33 barrels of zinc bromide and 37 barrels of a weighted blend of calcium chloride and calcium bromide were released into the Gulf of Mexico producing a slick which was 5 miles by 5 miles. While some of the spills resulted from equipment failure, many also involved human error according to the reports. These are the smaller spills. To review the pollution statistics for spills in excess of 50 barrels, including spills in 2009, go to the MMS website and choose “OCS Related Incidents” in the left hand column.
The MMS accident report reflects pipeline spills due to corrosion, pipes being snagged by ship anchors, storm dislodgement, etc.
In addition to MMS accident reports, pollution data from oil and gas is also available from the EPA website.
The blowout in the Timor Sea off Australia has been pouring oil into the sea for more than 2 months now.
Due to better technology, training and oversight, there are less spills than in the past. The spill response reaction time has also increased to help minimize spill damage. Still, though, the very nature of the industry involves trying to find and then transport a pollutant substance in an ocean environment.
Notwithstanding all precautions and personnel training, equipment failure and human error will occur and hurricanes will impact rigs, pipelines and shore structures. Consequently, there continue to be documented spills in both oil and gas drilling and related activities. As was stated in the hearing more than once by both committee members and speakers, what is involved in a “risk analysis”. With rigs as close as 3 to 10 miles off the beach, there is a definite risk that pollutants will be discharged into the water. The closeness of such activity to the shore further increases the risk of pollutants getting to the beach.
As was expressed in the hearing, are the potential revenues, whatever the final figure may turn out to be, worth the risk to the State’s tourism industry, the environment, property values, etc.?
The committee will be answering this question.
Both the Walton County Board of County Commissioners and the Walton Chamber of Commerce have passed resolutions against drilling east of the Military Mission Line.
SWCC Executive Director
11-02-2009, 06:34 AM #155
Australian Oil Rig Catches Fire
11-02-2009, 02:17 PM #156
Here is another example of an energy company lying to the people, destroying their dream home and lifestyle, and then claiming they are not responsible! This one is on land, in Colorado!! Just a FYI.
Methane Gas in Drinking Water - KRDO.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News, Weather and SportsClean water - Good for the soul !
It's Better To Wear Out, Than Rust!
11-02-2009, 03:23 PM #157
Wondrous claims about offshore drilling bogus orlando sentinel EDITORIAL | Gulf state
11-02-2009, 05:43 PM #158WARNING: Things posted by this user may offend some people. All things posted above are the opinions of poster and not necessarily the opinions of this site..or anyone else for that matter. They might not even make sense or be suitable for children. Come to think of it, they might be unsuitable for adults or human consumption. Have a nice day.
11-02-2009, 07:47 PM #159
You can count on Gidget and Moondoggie! I LOVE the idea of everyone wearing black shirts!! Was that Jodi's idea? A MUST imo because it is not a natural thing to see - a line of black on white sand with blue sky and water. Please consider that suggestion and post it to the website if you decide to go with it.
I also posted the link on my facebook Jodi.
I have a friend who is a huge envioronmentalist that works at CNN as an anchor (Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell) I wonder if there will be enough people showing up for this to go national? If so, I can send her the details and see if they are interested.
Keep us updated and thanks for all of your hard work.
11-02-2009, 09:54 PM #160
We might very well do black shirts; I have been thinking about that for awhile. I have the design done already. I sent info to CNN already but if you have someone who might want to talk to me have them contact me please. I fully expect this will draw national attention. Thank you for your support. 850-865-1061
11-02-2009, 10:16 PM #161
"Hands" is growing across the State. Join Hands with us to protect our Coastal Legacy
The Audubon Society, The Surfrider Foundation, The Sierra Club, Progress Florida and Protect Florida's Beaches are joining hands with us. Senator Dennis L. Jones (R) and former Senator Jack Latvala(R) are the beginning of a growing line of leaders joining hands with us.
Every Chamber of Commerce from Pensacola to Panama City have passed resolutions against this legislation.
We will be posting the names of all of our partners against Texas oil in our waters on the "Hands" Website.
We will also post those members of The Florida House of Representatives who voted to allow Texas Oil to foul our waters and beaches. We will post those who plan on voting for this Folly for Florida as well.
Senator Durell Peaden(R) of Crestview has gone on record as being against this legislation. It is our sincere hope our own Senator Don Gaetz(R), as our Coastal Senator, will also Join Hands with us. I will be meeting with Florida Senators across the state to ask in person their position on this important issue for our beloved Florida.
We must not let anonymous Texas Oilmen redefine our Coastal Legacy of clean waters, clean beaches, tourism and our Florida way of life. We Floridians must protect this legacy for our Children and Grandchildren, for ourselves and for the millions of guests who enjoy our beautiful Sunshine State.
Join Hands with us at Hands Across The Sand | A gathering of citizens of Florida to prevent near shore oil drilling in Florida's coastal waters.
Last edited by Dave Rauschkolb; 11-03-2009 at 12:26 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to Dave Rauschkolb For This Useful Post:
11-03-2009, 03:36 AM #162
The Destin City Council passed a resolution last night opposing drilling in State waters joining all area chambers and the Walton County Commissioners against this attempt to jeapardize our economy and environment. When will our elected officials get the message? The plain message coming out of the panhandle is "No to Texas Oil threatening our economy and taking our most important natural treasure."
11-04-2009, 08:56 AM #163
The truth the Texas Oilmen don't want you to know
November 2, 2009 Contacts: David J. Cullen, Sierra Club Florida, 941.323.2404
Tony Sasso, Surfrider Foundation, 321.258.8217
TALLAHASSEE – Yet another oil well has sprung a leak in the Timor Sea. The new gas leak, reported late last week, is in the same general region as one off the coast of Australia that has been hemorrhaging oil, gas and condensate for more than 10 weeks now and has produced a slick covering a 3,720-square-mile area.
Meanwhile, just this past Friday, an oil tanker with a suspected mechanical failure dumped between 400 to 800 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay, creating an oil slick three miles long. Incredibly, supporters of lifting a ban on drilling in near-shore waters off the Gulf Coast of Florida continue to insist the industry is safe and poses no threat to the environment or to Florida’s tourism-dependent beach communities, prompting 30 communities and organizations to date to pass resolutions in opposition.
“The claims of safety are meant to blow smoke and sow confusion. Typical advertising,” said David Cullen of Sierra Club Florida. “You don’t have to look as far away as Australia to see the ill-effects of drilling on our environment and communities around the Gulf of Mexico.”
According to just one of the many public sources reporting oil spills, hurricanes, transportation mishaps, human errors and old fashioned well blowouts since 1993 have flushed a total of at least 7.4 million gallons of gas and oil into the Gulf of Mexico and the rivers that feed it over the past 16 years to devastating effect.
[Sixteen incidents culled from a site maintained by NOAA are attached to this news release. Oil spill incidents in the NOAA southeast region may be found at http://www.darrp.noaa.gov/southeast/index.html.]
"This is not a one time gamble," noted Cullen. "They'll be out there drilling for years. And the more they drill, the more certain it is that there will be a spill that affects Florida. Mathematically, the risks eventually catch up with us."
The truth is that the industry is not safe and even small spills can have a disastrous effect on beach communities and environments, said Tony Sasso, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and a current member of the Florida Surfrider Foundation.
"Either these oil lobbyists have thrown the truth under the bus or they are getting their information from another planet,” said Sasso. “The actual facts are clear, abundant and available from the Coast Guard, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals
Management Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. “It is a proven fact that oil drilling, production and transport, including pipelines, is a polluting and accident-infested business. These facts and figures don't lie."
Each week another business, Florida community or organization is coming forward to speak out or to adopt resolutions in support of preserving Florida’s coasts, he noted.
To date, more than 29 organizations have passed resolutions to protect Florida’s Gulf waters and/or to oppose lifting the ban on oil drilling. They include: Bay County Chamber of Commerce; Bay County Commission;Barrier Islands Governmental Council (Big C); Captiva Erosion Prevention District; Clearwater, City of; Cocoa Beach Surfrider Foundation; Collier County Commission; Destin Area Chamber of Commerce; Escambia County Commission; Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; Destin City Council; Florida's Great Northwest (Military Interests); Indian Rocks, City of; Indian Shores Town Council; Lee County Commission; Lee County Tourist Council; Miami Beach, City of; Pensacola City Council; Redington Beach, Town of; Redington Shores, Town of; Safety Harbor, City of; Sarasota, City of; Sarasota, County of; St. Petersburg, City of; Tampa, City of; Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce; Tarpon Springs, City of; Treasure Island, City of; Wakulla County Commission; Walton Area Chamber of Commerce; Walton County Commission.
11-04-2009, 11:39 AM #164
11-04-2009, 04:36 PM #165
Keep up the good work
Lawmakers' love affair with Big Oil
By CARL HIAASEN
The mystery group trying to repeal Florida's ban on offshore oil drilling is winning converts the old-fashioned way, deploying a battalion of lobbyists and throwing campaign money at state legislators.
Florida Energy Associates, which is basically a front for Big Oil, has already donated about $125,000 to the two major political parties. Nobody turned down a dime, even though the firm won't reveal which oil and gas companies it represents.
That's what makes our legislators so special. They happily sell out without even knowing who's buying them.
Florida Energy Associates has hired about three dozen big-name lobbyists to peddle the idea that drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is perfectly safe, and that it will bring jobs, prosperity and a $2.25 billion annual boost to the state budget.
That dollar prediction is pure fiction, exceeding by sevenfold the maximum yearly drilling revenues from Alabama and Texas combined. But wildcatters are nothing if not optimists.
If you happen to live near a coast, and the majority of Floridians do, the notion of erecting scores of gas and oil derricks in a prime hurricane pathway might seem reckless, especially after what happened to the shorelines of Louisiana and Mississippi when Katrina struck.
Florida Energy Associates wants to assure you that their members -- whoever they are -- would never do anything to foul the beaches, poison the marine life and scare off tourists.
In Tallahassee, the two biggest cheerleaders for offshore drilling are both Republicans. Mike Haridopolos of Indialantic is the future Senate president, and Dean Cannon of Winter Park is the future House speaker.
That's fabulous news for the oil companies, but there's more.
One of the lobbyists hired by Florida Energy Associates is Claudia Diaz de la Portilla, who's married to Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican.
Last month, Alex was named chairman of the Senate's energy, environment and land-use committee, meaning he is positioned to influence any legislation that repeals or weakens the current ban on offshore drilling.
It's not just an inside joke. A senator who will play a key role in the outcome of the oil-exploration controversy is sleeping with a lobbyist for the oil companies.
In a place where ethics actually mattered, this would be denounced as a flagrant conflict of interest. Not in Florida.
Sen. Diaz de la Portilla says he won't recuse himself from the drilling issue because he's open-minded, and he doesn't always vote on the side of his wife's clients.
And while the income she's receiving from Florida Energy Associates presumably benefits the whole family, including her hubbie, we're being asked to believe it won't affect his stance in the drilling debate.
Maybe that's true, but the appearance sure looks bad.
Last spring, the GOP-controlled House voted largely along party lines to end the drilling ban. That bill would have empowered the governor and Cabinet to take bids from energy firms seeking to put drilling platforms as close as three miles from shore.
The measure died in the Senate, where some of the toughest opposition came from other Republicans who weren't swayed by the oil-and-gas lobby's late-session blitz.
Those lawmakers remain skeptical today, and stand as the main bulwark against opening up Florida's offshore waters to energy development. Sen. Durell Peaden of Crestview, who once worked for Texaco, told reporters: ``Once you ruin those beaches, they're ruined forever.''
In 2010, the biggest problem facing Big Oil in Tallahassee is Senate President Jeff Atwater, a Republican from North Palm Beach. He's been unmoved by recent polls -- some paid for by energy interests -- suggesting that Floridians are increasingly open to the prospect of offshore drilling.
Atwater says the subject isn't on the Senate agenda for next year's session, and he wants an independent analysis of the potential risks and benefits before moving ahead.
And while Atwater currently holds life-or-death power over most legislation, Big Oil can afford to be patient. Atwater is running for state chief financial officer, and in any event the senate presidency is slated to go to the pro-drilling Haridopolos in 2011.
When that happens, maybe the faces of Florida Energy Associates will finally peek out of the shadows. If the vote looks to be narrow, they can always pull the Diaz de la Portilla gambit.
Hire the spouses of reluctant legislators to do some one-on-one ``lobbying.''
11-04-2009, 06:43 PM #166
In a place where ethics actually mattered, this would be denounced as a flagrant conflict of interest. Not in Florida.Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls. ~ Joseph Campbell
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11-04-2009, 07:49 PM #167
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Don't get me wrong as I think this is a grayt idea and am personally against the drilling. However, I wonder how many people will drive their vehicles onto the beach at Grayton so that they can join hands to protest big oil.
11-05-2009, 08:55 AM #169
Think about it. Depending on how it's shot, you could show a line of concerned citizens, a globally rare coastal dune lake, sugar white sands, majestic dune systems, and a big 4WD vehicle all in the same shot. The opportunities to try and smear the campaign are endless.
(I hope I didn't just give anyone an idea, but I am pretty sure Big Oil is much smarter on this stuff than I am.)
11-05-2009, 10:33 AM #171
Pensacola News Journal
November 3, 2009
Editorial: Ten weeks, and counting
There was more bad news for proponents of offshore drilling near the Florida coast this weekend.
We can only hope it isn't the kind of bad news Gulf Coast residents will face someday.
The bad news: The drilling rig that has been leaking an estimated 400 barrels of oil, natural gas and byproducts a day into the Timor Sea near Australia since an Aug. 21 blowout erupted in flames Sunday, delaying efforts to plug the leak.
Meanwhile, complaints are coming in from remote Indonesian islands — hundreds of miles from the spill — about people being made sick from eating fish contaminated by oil and byproducts, and of dead fish and other marine life. Tests 20 miles off its coast by the West Timor Regional Environmental Agency found "high concentrations" of oil.
News reports say the oil slick — fortunately relatively thin — now covers thousands of square miles. But the leak is on the sea bottom, so experts say it's unknown how much of the spill remains underwater.
One of most worrisome points: The rig, built in 2007, is one of the newest in the world with the best — and supposedly safest — technology.
Yet for 10 weeks now the spill has been uncontained.
Fortunately, as oil spills go, it is a relatively small leak — 400 barrels a day. But estimates are that since it began more than 1.2 million gallons of oil have leaked into the ocean from the site, which is only 150 miles off the coast of Australia.
What if the leak were twice that size — or worse?
The Associated Press reported that Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he was "deeply disturbed" at the newest problem and the time it is taking to stop the leak.
"Do I think this is acceptable? No, I don't," Rudd said. "Are we angry with this company? Yes we are. Are were trying to do everything we can to get this under control? You betcha."
Yes, for only 10 weeks — and counting.
<http://www.pnj.com/article/20091103/OPINION/911030301>Clean water - Good for the soul !
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11-06-2009, 09:21 AM #172
Oil spills poison the Red Sea
Egyptian tourism commercials present the Red Sea as an untouched paradise where “the sun shines 365 days a year” and the water is full of exuberant marine life. But the reality is that the beaches and marine life are being destroyed as a result of offshore oil drilling and spills.
Oil spills poison the Red Sea | csmonitor.comClean water - Good for the soul !
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11-06-2009, 11:17 AM #173
[ame="http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/179263/august-13-2008/formidable-opponent---offshore-drilling"]Formidable Opponent - Offshore Drilling | Wednesday August 13 | ColbertNation.com[/ame]
I know this is a serious subject, but I could not resist inserting Formidable Opponent into the dialogue.
(Jack S - did you get the photo? Sorry for difficulties I had sending it)
11-06-2009, 11:20 AM #174
11-06-2009, 11:22 AM #175
Ya can never have too much Colbert!! Truthiness rules! I also think it would be a good idea if the participants of this event around Grayton did not show up in their Jeeps. (Just this one time.)My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...
Since part of the idea is to have a strong visual impact of a mass of people dressed in black against the (right now) white sand, I definitely agree that vehicles should not be part of the scene.
An anti-drilling environmental protest w/ a bunch of SUVs in the background......................it turns the whole thing into a joke instead of news.
Leno - Today a bunch of folks in Florida took to the beaches to protest plans for more offshore drilling.................it was a family event with several generations involved - good thing they had SUVs to get them all there! Now maybe it's just me, but if you are going to protest oil drilling wouldn't you take the car that gets MORE than 10 mpg?
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11-06-2009, 12:52 PM #178
With ya every step of the way Dave. Whatever you need.What?
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11-13-2009, 07:26 PM #180
A response to Mr. R. Shaffer's Letter in the Walton Sun
LETTER: Shame on The Sun and those who won't drill down
November 12, 2009 3:15 PM
Kudos to Mr. Swiercz for his column in last week’s Walton Sun. He rationally, logically, and simply explained away highly charged emotional fears (by the use of facts and common sense) about offshore drilling.
This fear mongering “not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY) attitude regarding offshore drilling comes from self-important, ego-centric, bell-ringing tavern-keepers (without doubt an Obama fan too), and their imbibing patrons, who have no concept of reality beyond their hostess' doorway.
The situation as described by Mr. Swiercz's column is the “upside.” The “downside” is that presently the military uses a very large majority portion of the eastern half of the Gulf as a bombing range (which can't be too popular with non-voting marine life species or boaters and sport fishermen).
When you consider that Eglin (the biggest landmass Air Force base in the world) has always had a bombing range, why would we suppress our energy reserve potential by not drilling in the Gulf — especially in the face of ongoing Middle Eastern coercion by OPEC? (Are we saving it for China, who is already slant-drilling off Cuba?)
Maybe these NIMBY tavern people should try to resist the nightly rhetoric and try to gather some facts that would be beneficial to the entire country and not merely within the sound of their “sundown bell.”
Meanwhile, Deborah Wheeler’s “SIGN OF THE TIMES” photo (immediately opposite Mr. Swiercz’ article) is an abomination — a newspaper editing placement insult to Mr. Swierz. It is a blight on the landscape and I hope she reported it to Walton County Code Enforcement like a good citizen should.
If “Shorty’s” in Grayton Beach had anything to do with erecting this eyesore on the dunes opposite them, they should be cited and the sign removed along with errant beach chairs and umbrellas.
Deborah Wheeler is the Walton Sun writer who reports birthdays, resident vacation trips, and snowbird comings and goings, (no doubt all tavern attendees where the rhetoric and wine flows thick and freely). Those facts are as memorable as faces on the bar-room floor.
It's no wonder that the readership of The Sun is setting.
We're tired of reading about the same circle of birthdays and visits “to and from” as well as warmed-over items from other failing newspapers around the country (Hmmm, I wonder if those other papers around the country report our warmed-over birthdays from here on 30-A).
Panama City Beach
Response From Dave Rauschkolb
Dear Mr. Shaffer, thank you for your thoughtful comments. Gosh you would think being a Tavern owner is a crime judging from your letter. Like we are a bunch of seedy, liquor peddling sinners klomping around in wooden shoes. It's the first time I have heard a restaurant called a Tavern in 40 years.
To set the record straight. I am a tax paying, law abiding business person who employs 140 staff in season and have provided thousands of job opportunities in the past 24 years. A business person who is a member of only one of all of the Chambers of Commerce from Pensacola to Panama City who have signed resolutions against this oil legislation.
Let me clue you in, attacking me is like trying to catch a feather in a windstorm. On February 13 thousands of Floridians who agree with protecting our waters and shores will ring a bell so loud the legislators will hear it clear and true. NO oil on OUR beaches, No oil in OUR waters. Period.
Sorry it is not the job of Florida to save America from terrorism or make us free of foreign oil. Florida can and should be the leader of our nation in Solar. We ARE the sunshine state. Texas is the OIL state. Do we want a bunch of anonymous Texas Oilmen determining the future of our beaches and waters? I think not. That would be the real abomination.
Anyway, your efforts to paint this as some ill conceived liberal cause is the real bell ringer. Listen to this. Loud and clear. There is a long line of conservative Republicans including Senator Durell Peaden, R of Crestview, Senator Dennis L. Jones, R , former Senator Jack Latvala R, and others who are against oil drilling in Florida's waters. Peaden and Jones by the way both endorse Hands Across The Sand.
Sir, my concept of reality is clear as a bell. Florida is a place of sunshine, fun and clean waters and beaches. That's why people come here. Our coastal legacy is all of the above and this Nimby, Tavern owner as you call me will stand in a long line around the state to be sure it will stay that way. And please, attacking Debbie Wheeler in the way you did was very rude.
Founder, Hands Across The Sand.
Last edited by Dave Rauschkolb; 11-13-2009 at 09:52 PM.
11-13-2009, 07:39 PM #181
Maybe the word is reaching legislators?
It appears that the Florida Legislature may be hearing the drum beat of citizen protest against drilling off Florida's coast ("Hands across the Sand"). Senate President Jeff Atwater has asked for a study "about how best we can protect Florida’s resources, not about how much can we drill for and how fast."
CHOICE OF COMMITTEE FOR DRILLING STUDY 'SENDS MESSAGE'
By JOHN KENNEDY
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Nov. 13, 2009
.......By ordering an environmental panel to study the wide-ranging effects of offshore oil-drilling, Senate President Jeff Atwater is “sending a serious message,” the committee’s chairman told the News Service of Florida.
"While House leaders race ahead with workshop sessions building a case for drilling legislation, Atwater is tapping the brakes, said Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs, chairman of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.
“This study will be primarily about how best we can protect Florida’s resources, not about how much can we drill for and how fast,” said Constantine, whose panel will lead the review of offshore drilling.
But Constantine downplayed early speculation that the study’s sweep could effectively thwart House efforts to have oil-drilling on the table during next spring’s legislative session.
“We’ve been aware we were going to get this assignment for a few weeks and work is already underway,” he said. “But the Senate is not about to just listen to the oil-industry and experts from universities that get oil industry funding tell us about how great it is. Oil-drilling is far from being definite in Florida.”''
11-14-2009, 12:03 PM #182
Walton Sun Stirs the Oil Drilling " Pot "
After last week's articles printed in the Sun concerning oil drilling off (way off) the coast of Florida, the local citizens on both sides of the issue are getting riled up.
The Editor at the Sun printed a letter from R. Shaffer that really takes a shot at not only those folks against drilling, but at the "tavern bell" locals that are seen hanging around the local bar rooms on 30-A, not to mention a shot at the Sun itself.
The letter presented some good points and a number of good laughs.
Maybe we should all hold hands and hope that R Shaffer continues to write letters to the Sun's editor. It is better than reading the Comics section of a Sunday paper.
Today's Sun is certainly worth a read.
I got into a discussion about off shore drilling on another thread and someone accused me of being NIMBY (not in my back yard). It was early and I was sleepy, so I came back with the retort that we are stewards of "God's Back Yard"...everybody should watch Ken Burn's documentary "The National Parks: The Greatest Thing We Ever Did" and you will be filled with patriotism and an admiration for the efforts and sacrifices our ancestors gave to preserve what precious places we have in this country. We all need to think like that...
Last edited by Lake View Too; 11-15-2009 at 08:06 AM.My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...
Mr. Shaffer, your dismissive letter with your rude attack on Debbie Wheeler and the Walton Sun says much more about you than it does about her and our local community.
Last edited by GoodWitch58; 11-15-2009 at 07:30 AM.A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
11-16-2009, 09:47 PM #185
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I really couldn't believe this when some told me about it.
I find it interesting that Mr. Shaffer really thinks we can free ourselves from foreign oil by drilling off the Florida coast. We probably could for a couple of days or weeks, but then we would have depleted our reserves completely. My logic might be off, but doesn't that mean that we would once again be dependent on foreign oil and actually more so than before at that point?
Mr. Shaffer simply states as fact completely fictitious statements. China isn't drilling anything. This is simply a lie. Cuba is leasing exploratory blocks 60 miles off of their coast, but nothing has been done to date. In fact many oil companies currently own leases off the coast of Florida, but are restricted from drilling.
I'm not really sure what reference Mr. Shaffer is making with Eglin, after tourism it is our economic power house. The fact is that Eglin needs both the land and water. Believe it or not pilots occasionally fly over water and it's best to train them to do it than let them figure it out in combat.
Mr. Shaffer if your love of oil derricks is so great then there are plenty of other states that you can move to and enjoy the sight daily.
Finally, making personal attacks against a local business owner and newspaper reporter are simply distasteful and distracting. Perhaps you can form an argument without resorting to name calling, partisan attacks, and flat out lies. Luckily most people can see your argument for what it is; baseless, misleading, and ignorant.
11-16-2009, 11:01 PM #186
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It boggles the mind to see how some people are trying to make this a partisan issue. That is simply not the case. This horrible bill probably would have passed had it not been for Senate President Atwater (R -- Palm Beach) putting the brakes on in the last session after it passed the House. There are many Republicans who oppose near-shore drilling, and sadly there are also Democrats who have taken money from Florida Energy Associates, LLC.
This is a Florida issue, and there is no shame in standing up and saying Not In My BackYard...that is exactly how every movement in the history of mankind has begun.
11-16-2009, 11:12 PM #187
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It was very easy for you to take aim at Dave Rauschkolb, a NIMBY, a community leader, and a heck of a great tavernkeeper. Mr. Rauschkolb and the other leaders of Hands Across the Sand have made no secret of their identities. They are our friends and neighbors, and they are more than willing to open themselves up to criticism if it means no one will ever have to wash tar balls from their feet upon leaving Grayton Beach.
Florida Energy Associates, LLC, the shadowy organization of Texas oilmen who have hired every prominent lobbyist in Tallahassee and spent millions of dollars to put on a massive public relations campaign in an attempt to try to pass a bill that will permit near shore drilling in state waters have kept their identities a secret. No one knows who they are, and their assurances about the type of drilling they wish to do (as outlined in your letter) bear little resemblance to what the proposed bill would allow. Florida Energy Associates, LLC would have the right to contract with the state for exploration between 3 and 12 miles off the beach, and would be given easements to the coast and across the beach for transport. More worrisome, the bill would even allow County Boards of Commissioners to contract for oil drilling in the waters from the shore to three miles out.
Those who oppose near-shore drilling and are not hiding behind lawyers and lobbyists deserve our respect more than a group of out of state businessmen who refuse to identify themselves and have no stake in our backyards, our beaches, remaining among the most beautiful in the world.
11-17-2009, 09:06 PM #188
Well, I am a Texan that goes to South Walton specifically because it HAS NO OIL RIGS on the horizon. We took the kids to Gulf Shores one spring break and I counted 31 oil rigs from my balcony. One day we decided to drive across the border to Florida and stop at a public beach. Voila - a beautiful view of the ocean, not marred by hideous oil rigs (but don't get me started on the ridiculous amount of high rises right on the beach!)
I went to Galveston as a child and I remember it was just common knowledge you didn't wear your 'good' bathing suit to the beach because of the tar balls. And you had to scrape tar off the car when you got back. I remember telling this to my husband (grew up in Florida) many years ago and he was speechless. I thought it was normal.
I cannot imagine beautiful, quaint, picturesque South Walton having these rigs offshore. I'd have to find another place to visit. My father was an oil man and very conservative and I understand the 'need to rid ourselves of Middle East oil', but for heaven's sake, this is America, we can DO THAT without drilling for every last drop of oil at every last beautiful place in this country.
11-18-2009, 04:21 AM #189
I agree. The Parks documentary confirmed that the fight is never easy but the cause great and will leave a lasting legacy for millions to enjoy in the future.
Lessee if I got it right...
FL Energy Assoc. represents out-of-state interests who will profit from drilling off our coasts. Even if it puts our income and property values at risk.
Hands Across the Sand represents actual citizens dependent on our vacation economy, the thousands who enjoy visiting our area, and the property owners, local and remote, who have invested their hard-earned money here.
Does it make me a NIMBY to support Hands? I don't really care what you call me. I know that big money interests always do what they can to paint their opponents as illogical, lacking common sense, liberal, petty-minded, unpatriotic, or whatever. In doing so, they usually gain the support of some of the electorate, who lack the ability to see that they are simply being used. Because, in the end, the big money interests are only interested in themselves.
Dave and friends, I'll be there Feb. 13.
11-18-2009, 10:48 AM #191
11-19-2009, 06:50 AM #192
Pinellas lawmakers lash out against offshore drillingClean water - Good for the soul !
It's Better To Wear Out, Than Rust!
11-25-2009, 05:21 AM #193
A map of existing oil pipelines west of Florida.
Is this what we want on our beaches?
Dave is right - We have to fight for our rights!
part redneck/part barbie
11-26-2009, 03:20 PM #195
R Shaffer Revives the Local Hands Across the Sand Movement
R Shaffer's letter published in the Nov 14th edition of the Walton Sun has revived the local fledgling Hands Across the Sand movement. It has been years since anything has riled up local Walton County citizens and 30-A transplants any more than Shaffer's letter and the numerous editorial responses from Sun readers as recently published in the last two editions of the Sun. It seems that the local Hands Across the Sand movement should extend its gratitude to R. Shaffer for fueling debate that has provided the movement much needed local press exposure and notoriety.
Last edited by WaltonIsOne; 11-26-2009 at 05:57 PM.
11-27-2009, 09:54 AM #196
Hands Across The Sand In the News
November 27, 2009
St. Joe Company mum on offshore oil drilling
By JIM ASH
The News-Press Capital Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Northwest Florida, proud home of turquoise waters and sugar-sand beaches, has become ground zero in the fight against the Legislature's push for offshore drilling.
At the center of one movement is David Rauschkolb, a surfer turned successful restaurateur and the force behind the statewide Hands Across the Sand protest. Another is Northwest Florida attorney, Billy Buzzett, who is about to launch an anti-drilling ballot initiative.
Chambers of Commerce and county commissions from Pensacola to Destin have passed anti-drilling resolutions. Yet to weigh in, however, is St. Joe Company, the second-largest private landowner in the state.
Special coverage: Visit our special page covering the oil drilling issue, which includes videos, an interactive graphic, photos and more.
In the middle of transforming more than 500,000 acres into beachfront villas and vacation homes, the St. Joe has been absent in the debate. Officials referred all questions to a spokesman who did not return calls.
"I haven't heard anything from the company, but for as long as I've known St. Joe, they've always played things pretty close to the vest," Rauschkolb said.
Through interviews, discussions with his customers at Bud and Alley's, a Seaside landmark, and through his Web site, handsacrossthesand.com, Rauschkolb is urging opponents to hit the beach Feb. 13, weeks before the start of the next legislative session.
"If we could get hundreds of thousands of people to go to the beach, we could get the people in Tallahassee to listen," he said. "I'm in the Gulf every day, I taste the water. It's something I'm very passionate about. I'm also a businessman."
Buzzett is no stranger to legislative politics or the Florida Constitution he wants to amend. He's a former executive director of the Constitution Revision Commission and a former St. Joe vice president. Buzzett left St. Joe on July 31 after it downsized. He said he has severed all professional ties to the company.
"I'm very strongly against it," Buzzett said of offshore drilling. "I really think it's a bad idea. This is a good way to have a debate and let the voters decide."
Buzzett is working with environmental activist Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation. They are shopping the proposal to lawmakers in hopes someone will file a joint resolution, the fastest route to the ballot.
But they also are willing to begin gathering the more than 676,000 signatures they would otherwise need to reach the ballot. There would be little hope, however, of collecting the necessary signatures they need before a Feb. 1 deadline for reaching the 2010 ballot.
Either way, Buzzett said, the measure would be a good way to test recent polls that show a majority of Floridians support drilling.
Drilling proponents insist technology has made the risk of a spill negligible. They also say once wells are in production, operations would be submerged, with no rigs to mar the horizon or interfere with training flights from the Panhandle's seven Air Force and Navy training bases every year.
Combined, the military bases account for 70,000 jobs and a $15 billion economic impact. With no legislation available for review, business leaders say they aren't willing to gamble.
"For us, it was an easy vote," said Dawn Moliterno, president and CEO of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce. "We just don't believe there is enough information to put our primary industries at risk."
St. Joe has been just as cautious about staking out a position. St. Joe executive Stephen Hilliard sits on the board of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, but he joined the board after it approved its anti-drilling resolution. He declined to be interviewed.
Another St. Joe executive, Jerry Ray, is board member of The Great Northwest, a Panhandle business development group. He was absent when the group passed a resolution that opposes drilling in the military exclusion zones in Northwest Florida.
St. Joe's third-quarter standard financial filing warns investors about the "possible negative effects from oil or natural gas drilling, if allowed off of the coast of Northwest Florida."
Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Merritt Island Republican who is next in line to be Senate president and sponsor of drilling legislation in his chamber, said he has had no communication from St. Joe about the issue.
Even if St. Joe came out against it, it wouldn't matter, he said. Senate President Jeff Atwater has outlined a process of fact finding and hearings before bills will be heard.
"I'm sure they'll give us their take on it," Haridopolos said. "Right now, we're taking it out of the political arena and just looking for the facts. No one company, no one individual, is going to take precedence over the facts."orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-scott-maxwell-friday-files-112709-20091126,0,3196090.column
11-27-2009, 10:23 AM #197
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How does something that's brand new get revived?click >> Filter your water instead of using bottled water << click
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That was my question too!
St. Joe supporting offshore drilling would be the stupidest and most environmentally damaging thing they have ever done - and that is saying a lot!
11-27-2009, 11:03 PM #200
I back Dave R. 100%. No drilling off shore of FLA and I will go further and say no off shore drilling. Bring it all back to SW Louisiana, and I will not need a "locals club card" for B&A establishments (not that I really do). I used by my Bruno's card today for a wonderful pizza. They even "gave" me some cinnamon knots! That's class!
I just had to show my DL a few months back to get the card and didn't have to beg......not even ask twice. Of course, I remember the Bruno's pizza slice advertisements that were at Tom Thumbs's 14 to 15 years ago. But then again, I am not a local. Sad part is, I could probably dig one up one of those slices!
Good luck on no off shore drilling. I do remember the Galveston beaches. They were really bad."Victory Through Knowledge"