Rep. Rooney: No Reason to Put Florida at Risk with Offshore Drilling

Pensacola News Journal, June 27, 2018
Rep. Francis Rooney, Guest Columnist

“The adverse consequences of offshore oil drilling to the tourist economy of Florida are well-known. One only needs to look back to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 to see consequences of a potential disaster. Even though the spill occurred off the coast of Louisiana, tourism on Florida’s west coast fell 14% in the following months. Further, a Harvard economist found that a net loss of 50,000 jobs occurred after the spill along Florida’s Gulf Coast south of the panhandle.

Resumption of leasing and potential exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico will exact a chilling effect on our tourist economy and stifle economic growth. It is neither fair nor acceptable to expose the west and north coasts of Florida to the risks presented by this activity.

Furthermore, drilling in the eastern Gulf is unnecessary. While economic arguments based on tourism are well known, a less discussed component of the debate over offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf is future of oil demand. By the time any production would begin on prospects in or after 2019, global demand for oil will likely have peaked.

Markets are evolving and the focus of American energy development is changing as well. As prices for alternative energy sources drop, due to new technology and market demand, reliance on petroleum will decline significantly. For example, according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the cost of electricity generated from solar and wind sources fell almost 60% from 2010 to 2016. There is already a trend away from petroleum to alternatives, as the rise in popularity of electric cars illustrates.

Analysts are predicting, and energy companies are planning for, reaching peak oil demand within the next two decades. Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultant, predicts that oil demand will peak by 2030 at the latest, while Shell has a scenario reaching peak demand by the late 2020’s. Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, has already indicated that his company will adapt to the shifting markets, and the company plans to become a major player in the changing energy market.

There are also many land drilling prospects made economical by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking technologies. In the Permian Basin of west Texas, the Wolfcamp shale bed, just one of three of the developable beds in the area, is estimated to contain 20 billion barrels of oil.

This means that by the time necessary infrastructure, such as docks, pipelines, and tank farms, would have been built to support the supply vessels and barges which service offshore drilling, peak oil demand will likely have passed. Profits and job creation would be much lower than the American Petroleum Institute (API) predicts. API, and its Florida-based front, the Florida Petroleum Council, claim that offshore drilling in Florida would create 56,000 new jobs by 2035. Due to the occurrence of peak demand for oil, this prediction will never become a reality, and, if a disaster struck like Deepwater Horizon, the job losses would be catastrophic. It would be existential for Florida.

On the other hand, according to research by the University of Florida’s Sea Grant Program, ocean tourism and recreation is projected to create 268,000 new jobs over the next decade; tourism is a much better bet for Floridians than offshore drilling.

Florida’s livelihood depends on its environment and tourism, and, as a result, there is no place for offshore drilling here. With the changes foreseen in the oil industry, there is even less of a reason to put Florida at risk. We must prevent offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Francis Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district. He is the Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce.”

Original story available at:

Join Us!


The Florida Gulf Coast Business Coalition (FGCBC) seeks to serve as a business voice to protect the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The group was formed because offshore drilling the Eastern Gulf of Mexico is fundamentally at odds with our coastal economy and way of life. Offshore drilling is a threat to our thriving businesses that are reliant upon healthy ocean ecosystems, and it is incompatible with the military mission in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The FGCBC recognizes the importance of a unified business voice in protecting our coastal economies.

If you are interested in voicing your business’ opposition to offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, follow this  link to sign-up  and become a member of the coalition.


FGCBC Member Urges Congress to Protect Our Coast

Florida Gulf Coast Business Coalition member and Chairman of the Treasure Island and Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce, Joseph Dise, advocates  for our members of Congress to oppose any offshore drilling activities in the currently protected areas off Florida’s Gulf Coast. #ProtectOurCoast
Tampa Bay Times | May 23
Florida, oil drilling don’t pair well
As a Gulf Coast businessman, I am firmly opposed to the shortsighted and dangerous push to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling.
The threat of this activity coming even closer to our shorelines recently became more likely. Florida’s members of Congress are being pressured to engage in behind-the-scenes negotiations to allow the eastern Gulf to be drilled for oil and gas. This pressure is coming from congressional leaders who have no real connection to our important coastline and beautiful beaches.
Florida’s Gulf Coast tourism, recreation and fishing industries support 304,556 jobs and generate $17.5 billion annually in GDP. This economic strength would plummet in the event of an oil spill. When people think of Florida, they think of beaches, seafood and boating. I’d prefer we keep it that way.
When the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, tourism plunged even in places where oil never reached the beaches.
It is up to us to tell our representatives in Congress to oppose any offshore drilling activities in the currently protected areas off Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our voices matter and we don’t want loopholes that will allow industry to come in and drill. We don’t want it now and we don’t want it ever.
Joseph DiseTreasure Island
The writer is chairman of the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce.

BOEM Draft 5-Year Lease Plan

We are deeply saddened to report that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released their draft 5-year lease plan for 2019-2024. The proposal seeks to open 90% of offshore waters to oil and gas exploration, including the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, North, Atlantic, Straits of Florida, Pacific, and Arctic. We need your support in our fight to protect Florida’s Gulf coast from dirty, dangerous offshore drilling! Click here to learn more.

Here are two quick ways you can take action today!

1. Join our coalition:
Join the Florida Gulf Coast Business Coalition to protect our coasts, economies, and jobs from expanded drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Click here to join!

2. Submit your comments:
We know the fight to stop new offshore drilling isn’t going to be easy, but with you help- we know we can win! BOEM has opened a 60-day public comment period to collect feedback from the public on the proposal. Please take a moment to submit your comments to BOEM.

Here we go again…

Just a year ago voices across the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Arctic coasts came together to oppose expended offshore drilling. After substantial public opposition, the proposal, which initially included new areas in the Arctic and nearly the entire mid and south Atlantic regions, was scrapped. It was a huge victory for coastal communities and the economies they rely on.

Unfortunately, on June 29, President Trump annoucned a public comment period for a new 5-year National Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). At this early stage in the planning process, all areas are on the table: the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic Ocean. A 45-day comment period is now open until August 17th for the public to provide initial input on the administration’s plans. After this comment period closes, BOEM will prepare a Draft Proposed Program, followed by a Proposed Program and a Proposed Final Program.

Please let BOEM know that Florida’s coasts are simply to valuable to jeopardize to offshore drilling. Click here to view a fact sheet on why oil and Florida don’t mix.

To comment, visit: Open the “Open Comment Document” link and follow instructions to view relevant documents and submit comments.