Daytona News Journal
OFF SHORE DRILLING
On January 4, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order opening up most of the U.S. coastal waters to off-shore drilling for oil and gas. This decision is a radical departure from President Ronald Reagan’s original Executive Order banning oil and gas drilling off the U.S. Atlantic and specifically off the Florida coast, and which was upheld by all subsequent presidents through President Obama.
I am a retired oceanographer for the U.S. EPA. I reviewed Environmental Impact Statements for drilling along the Atlantic coast in the 1980’s. I was very pleased when President Reagan placed a moratorium on coastal drilling along the Atlantic and all the Florida coast. As a Florida Tech grad and coastal researcher, I am well aware of the coastal waters of Florida from Amelia Island to the Dry Tortugas to Pensacola, and the many natural habitats, including whale nurseries, coral reefs, turtle nestings, fisheries, rookeries, and beautiful sandy beaches, just to mention a few. These amazing and unique habitats could easily be compromised or destroyed by exploration, drilling, production, and especially spills. For those who think otherwise, walk on the beach of Galveston, Texas, and just try not getting oil and tar on your feet. Our Atlantic Right Whale population count began last week. Imagine what sonic testing would do to baby whales or to turtle nesting.
Drilling would not provide a boost to our Florida economy. The rigs would be almost 100% manned by professionals from Texas to Louisiana, not by locals. Florida’s economy is almost entirely tourist-based. Disney World would not be immune to a coastal spill. Even Florida citrus would be impacted when people up North read about an oil spill contaminating our Florida waters.
Where is the outrage from our political leaders? This is not a Democratic versus Republican issue. This is a Florida issue. Do we want St. Augustine, Vero Beach, or Fort Lauderdale to look like Port Fourchon, Louisiana, or Galveston or Port Arthur Bay, Texas? Let our Federal and State legislators know that Floridians will not accept drilling off our coastal waters.
William C. Muir,
Senior Oceanographer, Retired
Palm Coast, FL