Hurricanes and oil don’t mix...
Nearly every hurricane in recent memory has caused some type of oil spillage.
Does it make any sense to put rigs near Florida, a major "Hurricane Zone"?
Don't we have enough to worry about when we get struck by a storm?
Case in point…Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, destroying 115 oil platforms, significantly damaging 52 more and setting adrift 19.
More than 7 million gallons of petroleum products spilled, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. When you consider the onshore spills into that estimate, then the combined total spillage is over 9 million gallons, as estimated by the Department of Homeland Security.
According to the oil industry's own assessment, Hurricane Ivan caused oil pipelines to fail in the mud slide areas off the mouth of the Mississippi River, which would "take a significant effort to locate and repair." Hurricane Ivan also destroyed a number of production platforms in the U.S. Gulf.
Hurricane Hugo, in 1989 caused damage to a refinery which led to a significant oil spill.
Hurricane Andrew damaged or destroyed nearly 300 manned and unmanned platforms due to the combined effects of wind and waves.
When Hurricane Floyd wreaked havoc on the East Coast from the Carolinas to New York City, the US Coast Guard coordinated responses to the various disasters left in its wake - including an oil spill. The United States Coast Guard is the "first responder" when an oil spill endangers our environment.
Here in Florida, the Coast Guard is busy enough protecting our citizens and visitors from illegal activity. Why should we compromise the safety and security of our own state for the oil industry?
Drilling for oil off the coast of Florida is like buying eight track tapes in an iPad world.
It is outdated.
Our current renewable energy options are now advanced, sophisticated, clean, coming down in price, and safe.
Over the next series of blog posts, I'll be reviewing four serious arguments to be made against drilling for oil off of Florida's Gulf Coast - they are sand, hurricanes, the bell curve, and tragic accidents.
To begin.... Sand
Florida’s number one economic asset is its beaches…
Some of which have the finest, whitest sand and shells in the world.
The beaches attract tourists who spend billions of dollars here…tourism is how money is made in Florida.
Four out of five dollars are made on the beaches; for the experience of walking in the sand and looking out over a great and mystical expanse of clean water. For that privilege Florida is the top destination in the world with over 80 million people per year traveling to the Sunshine State. Not to mention the 6 million people with jobs in tourism and their $226 billion in wages.
According 2004 data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida's clear waters, world-class beaches and coral reefs support $53 billion tourism industry, a $14 billion marine industry, and a fishing industry that injects more than $6 billion a year to Florida's communities. Florida's tourism industry generated $65 billion in 2008, with $13.3 billion generated in payroll to more than a million Floridians directly employed in tourism. State sales tax related to Florida tourism was $3.9 billion in 2008 (21 percent of taxes collected).
Without such tourist-related revenues, how would we fund our already strapped governmental agencies, schools and infrastructure?
Oil cannot replace the revenue generated from Florida’s tourist based economy so we should not throw it all away on a promise of new jobs and tax revenue by allowing the business to start up here.
Oil will not replace the sales tax revenue lost when tourists stop coming here because the beaches have empty oil drums and tar balls from the gulf’s wells.
A 2007 University of Delaware study concluded that beach closures cost the City of Galveston, Texas over $171,000.00 per day in lost business revenue. And the study was done without consideration of the cost of lodging, as the study's authors determined that Texas beachgoers primarily "day trip" to the beach.
In Florida, our vacationers stay for days, weeks, and even months at a time.
We have far more to lose than Texas.
Needless to say real estate values will drop even further when a major tourist destination is transformed into an industrial site. Imagine the market for a balcony view of pipelines, rigs, and refineries.
Keep an eye out for my next post in my series "Buying Eight Track Tapes in an iPad World".
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