Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jeb Bush changes position on oil drilling in the Gulf

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has changed his position and is now supporting limited oil drilling rigs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Although part of the problem of high fuel consumer due in great part to its high population, Florida has not been part of the solution in terms of developing national fuel resources due to opposition to oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico. But gasoline prices around $3.00 a gallon may result in changing some minds.

The opponents of drilling have attempted to demonize proposed offshore oil and gas development by claiming it would result in large scale damage to the coastline and there is a widespread public perception that oil fields would be visible from the shore. In fact, nothing that has been proposed would be visible or noticeable in any way.

The bias against energy development has been pervasive. The Sun-Sentinel story about Bush's change of mind contains the following poll question alternatives regarding whether to drill off the coast if that nation faces a gasoline shortage.

Yes. Drilling is OK if there is a major fuel crisis.

No. Damaging Florida's coastline is not a good solution under any circumstances.

The two alternatives tacitly assume that drilling would damage the coastline.

Senator Bill Nelson has gone so far as to suggest that the area off the coast be excluded from drilling so it can continue to be used as a military bombing area. This from a Senator who rarely finds anything positive about the United States military.

In the aftermath of the recent hurricanes, other countries drew down some of their own reserves in order to reduce the price spiking resulting from speculation about damaged production and refinery capacity in the United States. Are these countries going to continue to do that kind of thing if the United States continues to avoid even exploration in large areas with substantial potential oil and gas production?


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