A Flip-Flop on Offshore Drilling but at What Cost
By: Diane Sori
/ The Patriot Factor / Right Side
Patriots on American Political Radio
“We want to grow our nation’s offshore energy industry,
instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores...a clear
difference between energy weakness and energy dominance...”
of the Interior Ryan Zinke
ypocrite and a
phony...to me thy name is Florida Governor Rick Scott. Never liked
him, still don't...never trusted him, still don't...but unfortunately
I had to vote for him when he beat out his Republican challenger (and
the man I supported and volunteered for) Bill McCullen for the then
Republican gubernatorial nomination. Not a well-spoken man as
witnessed by the few televised interviews he gives, Governor Rick
Scott is the very man who sold out the all important Port Canaveral
container contract to a muslim company based in the Middle East
instead of awarding the contract to any of the numerous American
companies that had applied.
Imagine the very port that services Cape Canaveral...that services
NASA...now has containers entering the port... entering our
country...being inspected by...or contents possibly being ignored
by...stevedors working for the Gulftainer Group, a subsidiary of the Gulf
Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO), which is based in of all
places Saudi Arabia. You can read all about that here in my previously
written Op-ed: Selling
Off America One Piece at a Time
And Governor Scott's so bad decision making, in my opinion, only
gets worse when recently he was able to get Florida exempted from the Trump
administration's so rightfully reversed protections put in place by the
Obama administration and announced “sweeping deregulations”
that would allow both offshore oil and gas drilling in almost all
previously protected Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic waters. This new
oil and gas leasing program...a program that opens up more than 90%
of the region known as the Outer Continental Shelf, a coastal "domain"
that extends between 10 and 250 miles off the U.S. coastline....would
see more than 90% of the Outer Continental Shelf becoming “available”
for what would then be the largest number ever of lease sales
to fossil fuel companies...as in 50 lease sales in all but one of 26
planned areas in U.S. waters, including 19 sales off the coast of
Alaska, seven in the Pacific, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in
And all this, according to the the U.S. Geological Survey,
translates into there being as much as 4.59 billion barrels of oil
and 38.17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the Atlantic Coast;
10.2 billion barrels of oil and 16.1 trillion cubic feet of natural
gas off the Pacific coast; 26.61 billion barrels of oil and 131.5
trillion cubic feet of natural gas off Alaska's coast; and 48.6
billion barrels of oil and 141.76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
in the Gulf of Mexico...all untapped as of yet.
A very good thing indeed as these large oil deposits off the U.S.
coastline would allow for us to cut what is our still dependency on foreign...on
Arab oil. And while fracking has already helped to some degree to do
just that, drilling and fracking combined would together put a major
dent in our purchasing of Arab oil...plus with drilling even more
jobs...thousands of jobs...would be created for American workers along with adjunct
industries and their corresponding jobs that would naturally evolve from the drilling industry...a jobs number that could be as high as 20,000 energy sector jobs* created in Florida alone.
But does all this matter to Governor Scott...the man whose slogan is "To make Florida first in job creation"
...apparently not as on
Tuesday, January 9th he met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to
secure said exemption for drilling off Florida's coast citing the
possibility for spilled crude washing onto Florida's beaches...of course something no one wants...as
Florida relies heavily on its beaches...on tourism...as its key
economic industry. And Zinke agreed...agreed without having any public
input or scientific review...and issued a statement saying that, “I
am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas
platforms.” And why...because he said other coastal states like Louisiana are "working coasts" that are "very much different than a recreation-centric coast that's in Florida."
And while those words are true to a great degree it is still a very unwise and so highly uncalled
for move on Interior Secretary Zinke's part because the newest generation of oil and gas platforms have not only corrected
the issues causing major environmental concerns but they would not even be
visible from Florida's Atlantic coastline as the platforms would be miles offshore and there would have only been two...one each in the area geologists feel hold the largest oil deposits...one off Volusia county's coast the other off Flagler county's coast. And by the way, President Trump's home Mar-a-Lago is in Palm Beach County so don't even go there.
As for Governor Scott, he has over the
years been a champion of supporting coastal drilling around Florida,
in fact, during his first campaign for governor in 2010 he explicitly
called for drilling offshore. However, after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and only after the spill coated some west Florida beaches
in black sludge and tarballs, did then candidate Rick Scott add
language to his campaign website stating that he wanted drilling done
in an "environmentally sound way and adhering to the
strictest of safety standards."
Yet these are but mere words said because at the same time he said them he vehemently opposed the Obama initiated 7-year drilling moratorium after the Deep Water disaster.
And since being elected governor, Rick Scott has sadly remained mum as
to his promise to expand drilling nor has he bothered to even look into a
way to drill as safely as possible while adding jobs at the same
time. Very odd indeed since Governor Rick Scott never once objected to drilling off Florida's
coast nor did he ask for Florida to be exempted from
said drilling when the Department of the Interior was first putting
together Trump's drilling proposal even though the Democratic governors of
New York, New Jersey, California, and several other states with Republican governors most assuredly did and still do object, and they are currently citing what
Rick Scott is only citing now as the midterm election draws near...the all-important tourism value of
their coastlines to their state's economies.
So Florida's Governor Rick Scott
now joins the ever-expanding ranks of flip-floppers who refuse to see
that the overall track record for U.S. offshore drilling is indeed a
very good one. And with the Gulf of Mexico...having to date 95
operational drilling rigs up and running...comes the fact that there
has only been three major accidents in the years since Gulf drilling
began in 1938 with the Creole field. And those events are the
aforementioned Deepwater Horizon event (which happened because of a
natural gas surge), the 1964 C.P. Baker Drilling Barge disaster, and
the October 2007 Usumacinta Jack-up disaster with the later two
caused by tankers docked alongside the platforms not from any
intrinsic problems with the platforms themselves. And there has also
been one more accident...certainly not as serious as the others when
last October the
Delta House floating production facility saw
an oil leak, but this leak was caused by a fracture in a flowline
jumper not by any tanker, and thankfully most of the oil dissipated before ever reaching
Not a bad track record I'd say considering all the oil that has
been harvested, processed, and used...oil we didn't have to purchase
from Arab countries that don't like us very much.
And while the anti-drilling bunch
continuously cite the few serious accidents and oil leaks that have happened as a
reason not to increase offshore drilling, know that most leaks
accounted for are naturally occurring oil leaks that have been
leaking longer than we have been drilling. And it's a fact that in
the Gulf of Mexico...and off California's coast as well...oil
naturally seeps up through the seafloor but that the oil that does so
seeps up very slowly creating only the thinnest of oil slicks when it
reaches the surface, and that the organisms that live over these
seeps...such as "oil-gobbling bacteria"...have evolved in such a way as
to be able to cope with said leaks. And why do I mention
this...because the eco-whakos think all oil that reaches our beaches is from some platform disaster.
So why Governor Scott's sudden change of heart about Florida offshore
drilling...it's for political reasons alone... as he knows that
Florida's senior Senator Bill Nelson...a moderate Democrat who was a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia
and is a champion of Florida's space industry and NASA...has always been
opposed to offshore drilling and that the opposition to such drilling
is strong in Florida...at least it used to be.
“I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away
from our coasts...but now, suddenly, Secretary Zinke announces plans
to drill off Florida’s coast and four days later agrees to ‘take
Florida off the table’? I don’t believe it. This is a political
stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott,”
so said Senator Bill Nelson.
That I'm not so sure about as Governor Scott is not totally behind Trump's agenda no matter their smiling faces...so highly important with the midterms looming especially where it concerns the current hot-button issue of DACA. Remember, as governor, Scott endorsed legislation filed by Miami Republican Rep.Carlos Furbelow and North Carolina's Republican Sen. Thom Tillis that would offer an eventual path to citizenship to immigrants who came to our country illegally before January 1, 2012, and were 16 or younger when they did so.
And while even the environmental
Sierra Club recognizes the politics involved in Zinke's
statement what with their Florida Director Frank Jackalone saying,
“Make no mistake about it, Ryan Zinke's decision...to remove
Florida from the draft offshore drilling plan was a purely political
move to aid the ambitions of Rick Scott,” even
that statement comes with a caveat of sorts as
well that one man's ambitions alone being the reason for said
exemption would never survive the many legal
challenges to come... challenges relating to provisions in the 1953 Outer
Continental Shelf Lands Act...a law laying out the standards and
procedures for determining which areas will and will not be open to
So why did Zinke really exempt only my state of Florida from the
new drilling deregulations (for now anyway) and not
the other states who objected right from the onset... why when the new
offshore drilling proposal is a huge win for President Trump's strong
energy policy. Why...simply because while it is about politics as in a Rick Scott senate win helping to keep the Senate
red come the mid-terms, it's much more about making sure that Florida stays red in 2020...with Trump favored Rep. Ron DeSantis hopefully being Florida's next Republican governor. Placate Florida now, keep Florida red then.
Remember, Senator Nelson is one of ten Democratic senators up for
reelection in states carried by President Trump and is also the most
vulnerable because of his moderate stance on certain issues. Zinke
knows that a Nelson loss in Florida would most likely keep the Senate
red for at least another two years so why not play both sides of the aisle against each other. If Rick Scott, as expected, does enter the race and wins, Florida's thank you remains no offshore
drilling (for at least the time being)...and if Senator Bill Nelson keeps his seat
no offshore drilling wins again as he is and has always been against
Florida offshore drilling and would vote so. And if Rep. Ron DeSantis just happens to become Florida's next Republican governor, while he too has flip-flopped on the issue of offshore drilling to some degree, I believe he in the end would most likely stand united with President Trump on the offshore drilling issue after not only aligning himself with Trump during his gubernatorial run announcement but as a thank you I'm sure for Trump having campaigned for him here in Florida.
Simply, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had nothing to lose and everything to gain by
exempting Florida when he did what with the possibility that
even if Rick Scott beat Bill Nelson in the Senate race and with both now still singing the anti-drilling tune...with a Ron DeSantis governorship highly likely and with his publicly stating loyalty to the Trump agenda no matter his somewhat wishy-washy oil drilling stance right now...the gamble of his in the end supporting the drilling is a gamble worth taking. And I would assume
President Trump thinks so too or Florida would not have been exempted from
offshore drilling no matter what the naysayers or hypocritical Rick Scott
So as advocacy for offshore drilling gains momentum nationwide; and as we Floridians know our state needs revenue unrelated to just tourism coupled with more jobs no matter the current yes/no drilling politics involved; and while my personal belief holds that protecting the environment is also a must...the thing that must trump all in today's volatile world is that our dependence on foreign oil must stop and if unseen from the shore while at the same time being done safely, then both offshore oil and gas drilling must be a go even here in my home state of Florida.
* As per Florida Economist
Hank Fishkind in the Jacksonville Times Union: "Florida could earn royalties of at least $2.3
billion per year, creating 20,000 energy sector jobs at an average
salary of $76,500 per year and generating $7 billion per year in direct
economic activity. If Florida waters are as productive as some believe
and if the price of oil climbs, the royalties and taxes alone could be
$12 billion a year and the industry could generate $41 billion in
economic activity, creating over 230,000 jobs."
Copyright @ 2018 Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / All Rights Reserved.
RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS...LIVE!
Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 16th from 7 to 9pm on American Political Radio, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS
Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss the offshore drilling issue; President Trump’s supposedly racist comment; and other important news of the day.
Hope you can tune in at: http://listen.samcloud.com/w/73891/American-Political-Radio#history