Let’s work together to ban oil drilling off Florida’s coast
It seems incredible that any rational being would even consider more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after what we did to our planet with Deepwater Horizon. Yet the power of money seems to conquer all and we go right back for more.
Read the original article here in TCPalm .
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Let’s work together to ban oil drilling off Florida’s coast | Guest column
Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) AP
We have many treasures in Florida that are man-made, but the one consistent thing that underpins our quality of life and our state’s economic vitality is also the one thing that cannot be replicated by human hands: our environment.
Make no mistake, our natural treasures in Florida — from the sandy beaches of Northwest Florida to the Everglades to the Keys — are at the center of our tourist economy and embedded in the blueprint of our daily lives.
In an era of technology, commercial development and rapid growth, there will be human encroachment on our natural resources. However, sometimes we must take a stand as citizens and protect the lands and waters that bring us so much joy.
That is why I have introduced a proposed change to the Florida Constitution that would prohibit oil drilling in Florida’s territorial waters, which are the waters under our state’s jurisdiction.
Although we have less influence over what happens to waters under federal jurisdiction, we do have the ability permanently change the Florida Constitution — our state’s foundational legal document — to protect our territorial waters.
The oil and gas industry claim oil drilling is safe and that it would be good for Florida’s economy and job creation. I say, look no further than what happened in Louisiana during the BP oil spill. Drilling so close to shore, as is done in other coastal southern states, has the potential to be visually, environmentally and economically destructive to Florida’s unique marine, wildlife, real estate and tourism resources.
Forget the politics for a moment and ask yourself, is that really a risk worth taking?
Thankfully, several of my fellow commissioners on the CRC agree that Proposal 91 is good for Florida’s future and have allowed it to pass through our committee process. The next stops for Proposal 91 are full commission votes this spring to determine if it will ultimately be placed on the General Election ballot in November for voter consideration.
Florida is a leader on the national stage and passage of this proposal would sound a loud environmental message.
The natural treasures that surround us are the essence of what is means to be a Floridian. We fish, we swim, we enjoy weekends out on our family boats or with friends at the beach.
Let’s help ensure our favorite pastimes are available to future generations by passing Proposal 91. I invite you to join me in this effort and be part of a legacy that has the potential to benefit our state for decades to come.
To voice your support for CRC Proposal 91, visit flcrc.gov to contact commissioners and find out how you can participate in upcoming public hearings we are holding across the state.
Jacqui Thurlow-Lippish is a former Sewall’s Point commissioner and member of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission.