During yesterday’s Natural Resources Committee meeting, U.S. Representative Darren Soto highlighted national security, the economy, and the environment as key reasons for extending the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico and banning seismic drilling off the Atlantic Coast.
Rep. Soto noted that we should embrace the future by working toward energy independence through renewable sources.
“There was a time in our country when we embraced the future, like solar and wind and hydroelectric, biofuels and nuclear,” said Rep. Darren Soto.
Unfortunately, we are again focused on oil drilling. Florida knows what devastation drilling can bring. The Deepwater Horizon disaster cost Florida billions of dollars, with effects that continue to impact Florida’s economy and environment.
During the committee meeting, Soto read portions of a letter written by Air Force General David L. Goldfein supporting the long-term drilling moratorium, stating it is “essential for developing and sustaining the Air Force’s future combat capabilities.” He then asked Katharine MacGregor, Department of Interior (DOI) acting assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals, whether they were considering an extension of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act’s moratorium in reaction to the General’s letter. MacGregor pushed the burden back on Congress stating that they would need to make that decision.
Soto then turned his attention to seismic testing, citing a letter written by Congressman Byer and over 100 members, including a bipartisan group of 21 Florida Members of Congress, opposing any seismic testing along the Atlantic coast. Soto asked if the DOI had received any letters in support of seismic testing. MacGregor said she was unsure.
The effects of seismic testing would be significant for both the economy and the environment. Over $95 billion of the gross domestic product along the Atlantic Coast and an estimated 1.4 million job would be lost resulting from seismic gun testing. Furthermore, Seismic testing could also put the world’s busiest spaceport, Cape Canaveral, FL, into jeopardy, which would negatively impact thousands of high paying jobs. Environmentally, seismic air gun testing every 10 seconds would result in a 78% re-fish decline, 138,000 estimated deaths of whales and dolphins, as well as significant Zooplankton (the basis of our food chain) killed within a mile of the coastline – further than previously expected.
To hear Rep. Soto’s remarks from the committee regarding offshore drilling, click here.