Associated Industries Continues Fight For Oil and Gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)

November 10, 2006

In April of this year, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) communicated with the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and held a press conference outlining our support to allow for limited offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Our position continues to be that Florida is an enormous consumer of energy. As a result, we have a responsibility to help this nation find a way to ensure that our future energy needs can be met while preserving our state’s natural beauty and our economic viability. 

High energy prices and supply uncertainties pose a serious long-term threat to the economy in Florida. The cost to operate a business in this state has become enormous. Over the last five years, wholesale natural gas prices have more than tripled and we have the highest natural gas prices of any industrialized country in the world. We must begin increasing the energy supply to curb the unacceptable energy prices that are crippling so many businesses and their employees. One part of the solution is tapping into the proven energy supply in the Eastern Gulf waters in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.  AIF also endorses exploring all energy alternatives, including more nuclear power plants, ethanol, hydrogen, solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy.

Since April, AIF has continued to work on this issue with various energy companies (both in Florida and nationally).  On November 15th, the MMS will hold a public hearing to solicit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2007-2012. The meeting will be held at the Bay Point Resort in Panama City.  We encourage members to consider attending this very important meeting.  Details for the meeting are as follows:

Date:  Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Time:   1:00 p.m.

Marriott Bay Point Resort
4000 Marriott Drive
Panama City Beach, FL

Furthermore, AIF is sponsoring a lunch to be held before the MMS meeting so interested parties can gather and discuss the issue and hear remarks from some special speakers.  We invite anyone planning on attending the MMS meeting to join us for lunch.  Details for the lunch are as follows:  

Date:  Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Time:   11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Boatyard Restaurant
5323 North Lagoon Drive
Panama City Beach, Florida  32408

(850) 249-9273


Directions to the Boatyard Restaurant - http://www.boatyardclub.com/about_us/byland.htm

Whether or not you are able to attend the MMS meeting next week, we strongly encourage you to please submit comments to them.  You can submit comments via the MMS Internet commenting system at: http://www.mms.gov/5-year/2007-2012main.htm

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Barney Bishop at bbishop@aif.com