WHEREAS, a Congressional ban against offshore drilling has been in effect since 1981, the purpose of which was to reduce the probability of environmental damage from oil spills that would significantly harm our state and tourism industry; and

WHEREAS, according to a 2003 Congressional report, increasing offshore production would not displace enough in imports to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil; and

WHEREAS, a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that opening the Florida coast to drilling would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil prices before the year 2030, if ever; that it is not economically feasible to drill for oil in the OCS; and that even if all available areas were opened, at the peak of production, it would have little, if any, effect on price; and

WHEREAS, the previous findings were corroborated in a June 2008 report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, showing that had Congress continued to increase fuel efficiency standards over the past 22 years, we would now have 16 times the savings in oil consumption than we could achieve by drilling for the next 20 years in now-protected areas; and

WHEREAS, nearly 80 percent of estimated U.S. oil reserves are already currently available to exploration and more than 68 million acres are available to drill, and the U.S. is the third largest oil producer at over seven million barrels of oil per day; and

WHEREAS, in spite of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s and others’ position that oil demand will grow, a study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found that America used less coal and petroleum energy in 2008; and

WHEREAS, in spite of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s and others’ position that new technology has made offshore drilling safe and environmentally friendly with no major spills in over 30 years and they are proposing drilling as close as three to six miles offshore, oil companies with this new technology still legally pollute by dumping drilling waste mud, cuttings, drainage and other matter every day that contain toxic waste, including heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, and carcinogens such as benzene, toluene and arsenic; and

WHEREAS, not only do these wells pollute as part of normal production, but they are also susceptible to accidents, incidents, and weather, as in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed over 113 platforms and Hurricane Rita another 11 platforms, resulting in the destruction of 124 platforms and 741,400 gallons of oil spilled, and since 2005, hurricanes have destroyed or damaged 378 rigs/platforms, more than 1 million gallons of petroleum have been spilled and many are still leaking today; and

WHEREAS, in 2007, a cargo vessel, Cosco Busan, hit the Bay Bridge spilling 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay, and as recently as July 2009, a Shell Oil Company underground pipeline just 30 miles offshore leaked over 58,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico covering over 80 square miles, and the leak continued without knowledge of the source for over two days, and environmental impacts from oil can last for over 10 years, as witnessed in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez incident, and latest government documents show as production goes up, so do spills, and Dr. Sisskin of Gulf Coast Environmental Defense predicts at least one spill per year; and

WHEREAS, according to a 2005 study by Florida Atlantic University and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, beach tourism alone contributed $37.2 billion in state revenue in 2004 and tourism in general accounts for one-third of Florida’s budget revenues annually, and so many people visit, live and work in Florida for its fishing, swimming, surfing, diving, boating, and pristine beaches and clean and natural environment, and Florida is dependent on an overall $65 billion per year tourism industry; and

WHEREAS, in July of 2009, a bipartisan letter from both Florida senators and 22 of 25 Florida house members was sent to Congress urging it not to expand offshore drilling, and many forward-thinking state senators and representatives also oppose Florida offshore drilling; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s leaders and all Americans should be pursing an energy policy that promotes responsibility and renewability based on sound science, honesty and facts rather than industrial greed, and continuing to drill for oil offshore inhibits the implementation of that policy;

THEREFORE, the Emerald Coast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is opposed to any attempt to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. We urge you to denounce this destructive and divisive, outdated and ineffective, economically short-sighted and unsustainable plea for new offshore drilling, and to instead join and support those of us whose vision is one of leading our state and nation to cleaner energy, a vision that enables future Floridians to work in environmentally and economically sound jobs, promoting a future where Floridians are known the world over as leaders in responsible cultivation and stewardship of our precious natural resources.