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Majority of Floridians Favor Increased Exploration for Oil and Natural Gas Off Florida’s Coasts

June 26, 2008

TALLAHASSEE – Results from a poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position on behalf of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) reveal more than 60 percent of Florida respondents are in favor of increased exploration and production of oil and natural gas off the coasts of Florida.  Additionally, 66 percent of respondents were willing to allow the search for natural resources to move closer to Florida’s shores – from anywhere the resources can be found to at least 50 miles from the shore.  Thirty-two percent of respondents were opposed to increased exploration.  Conducted on Tuesday, the poll sampled 685 registered Florida voters, and was weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation.  The margin of error was 3.6 percent.

“These poll results are a clear indication that Floridians are ready to look closer to our shorelines for natural resources that will increase production of Florida and American-based oil and natural gas,” said Barney Bishop, president and CEO of AIF.  “Presidential campaigning may have brought this issue to the forefront of the media spotlight, but it is not a partisan issue.  It is an issue that deeply affects all Americans and Floridians, as well as businesses across our great country and state.  Every ounce of energy produced in Florida and the United States increases the supply of reliable, affordable energy upon which businesses and industries rely every day.”

More than half of the Floridians polled felt it was unfair that Cuba was able to legally drill for oil and natural gas halfway to the United States and South Florida, while American energy companies were restricted to exploration for oil and natural gas 125 miles from Florida’s coast. Confidence in the ability of America’s offshore oil and gas industry to resume production of fuel after a natural disaster was high with 48 percent of respondents stating they had more confidence in the industry following recent Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Business leaders across the state have expressed concern over the availability of reliable and affordable fuel sources.  AIF, recognizing the growing problem unsustainable energy costs and supplies pose for the state’s business community, was the first Florida business association to advocate for environmentally-sensitive exploration of Florida’s coastal energy resources.  The association also endorses the need for nuclear power and additional renewable sources of energy.

“All future energy conversations must include increased conservation, efficiencies, the search for viable alternative fuels, as well as the continued use of conventional fuels,” said Dave Mica, co-chair of AIF’s Florida Energy Council (FEC).  “We look forward to engaging public policy makers in Florida and our representatives in Washington, D.C., on these critical energy issues.  The time for action is today.  Tomorrow is too late.” 

In 2006, AIF created the FEC to drive energy policy initiatives in Florida and at the federal level.  Members include producers, suppliers, storage facilities, bio-fuel companies, utilities, marketers, retailers, wholesalers and users working together to promote policies that will ensure continued availability of adequate, reasonably-priced energy to meet the growing needs of Florida’s population and business sectors.