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AIF Urges Lawmakers to Consider Benefits of Offshore Oil Exploration Presented in Collins Center Report

March 19, 2010

TALLAHASSEE – This week, representatives from the Collins Center for Public Policy presented findings from their report, “Potential Impacts of Oil & Gas Exploration in the Gulf,” to the House Select Policy Council on Strategic & Economic Planning. Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) urges the Legislature to consider the benefits of offshore oil exploration highlighted in the report and pass legislation that would open Florida territorial waters to offshore oil drilling and exploration.

With current unemployment rates reaching nearly 12 percent, findings suggest opening Florida’s waters to offshore oil drilling will bring substantial job benefits to the state. Florida could receive upwards of $90 to $180 million annually from increased oil and natural gas development in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The state could realize additional revenue from exploration and
production in state waters if allowed by the Florida Legislature.

“We commend Sen. Atwater for requesting this study. We believe it satisfies his desire to have an independent body study the issue of offshore oil and natural gas exploration and provides evidence that our lawmakers should pass legislation that will increase our access to these important domestic resources. While drilling alone will not provide a quick fix to our nation’s energy crisis or solve all of our budget problems, it will undoubtedly be an important component in developing a comprehensive national energy plan and will bring revenue to our state when we need it the most. Exploration and production of oil and gas is just one of the many solutions that will help us achieve the goal of national energy independence,” said Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of AIF.

The report asserts new drilling technologies combined with the strict rules and regulations in the U.S. make the probability of a major oil spill extremely low. Further, the report confirms that geography and natural seepage contribute to tar balls and dark-sanded beaches, as seen in Texas, rather than drilling.

“The biggest misconception surrounding the drilling debate is that it will definitively lead to oil spills. The report shows that less than one percent of the total oil in our waters comes from spills related to drilling, while 60 percent comes from natural seepage,” continued Bishop.

To read the full report, visit http://www.collinscenter.org/