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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida


June 15, 2009

“Sen. Nelson continues to sing the same old song on energy exploration and production. His antiquated position is well behind the times and does not reflect the views of most Floridians. In reality, a strong majority of Floridians – including a plurality of Democrats and a majority of Independents and Republicans – support offshore drilling because we are tired of our nation’s dependence on foreign countries for our energy.

Contrary to the Senator’s comments that oil and natural gas drilling would make Florida a ‘wasteland,’ facts of modern offshore oil and gas exploration and production show it can be done safely in a way that protects the environment, preserves Florida’s beachfront vistas and enhances our national security.

Further, oil and gas exploration is consistent with America’s military mission and, done the right way, will not threaten critical training exercises in the Panhandle.

Our state needs oil and natural gas to maintain our way of life, and natural gas production is already underway today in the Gulf of Mexico south of the Florida Panhandle coast.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, hundreds of millions of cubic feet of natural gas are pumped each day through an undersea pipeline from off the Florida coast to a Louisiana processing plant. Florida’s economy badly needs a revenue boost. Unfortunately, the state receives no revenue share from this activity.

Instead of simply saying ‘no,’ I hope Sen. Nelson would put his effort into ensuring Florida receives its fair share of revenue from energy production that occurs off the state. If we do not have oil and natural gas to power our vehicles and light and air condition our homes, Florida will become an uninhabitable wasteland. Tourism and economic development would come to a standstill. For the sake of national security and continued prosperity, America needs to find every domestic source of energy possible. That includes exploring the vast oil and gas reserves that exist off Florida.”