An Energy Sleight of Hand

As Swillers know, I am for restricted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The 100 mile mark off my beautiful Panhandle and the rest of the state seems eminently reasonable. We all drive our chariots to and fro and, while no one wants to watch the oil rigs on the horizon during a beach visit, the out of sight/out of mind proposal allows Florida to contribute to lessening our foreign energy dependence and makes a bit of spare change for the state in fees. Win-win, as I see it. But because of the state’s elected officials’ general intransigence as far as compromise goes ~ coupled with entirely too much weight given to our Governor’s status as ‘First Brother’ ~ a certain complacency has crept in. This news must have come as a shock. I’d like to say it surprised the hell out of me, but it didn’t…

Jul. 26–Florida’s congressional delegation is protesting a White House plan to open the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s coast to oil drilling and allow Louisiana and Alabama to reap the financial benefits.
The plan would allow those states to lease drilling rights in federal waters south of Florida’s coast near the Panhandle and receive royalties from the leases. A congressional conference committee is expected to finish the final draft of the plan today and have it ready for a full vote this week.
The White House proposal would continue to prohibit oil and gas drilling 100 miles out from Florida shores — but would allow drilling along a diagonal path beyond that, extending from Louisiana and Alabama due south from Pensacola to Fort Walton Beach in the western Panhandle.

While our representatives have been slumbering in a Jeb-George LoveFest induced coma, the rest of the world has seen a need that has to be met and we have resources to help alleviate some of the burden. It would have been far wiser, as I’ve written time and again, to lay the ground rules down in a compromise that let them drill far off shore, rather than get totally screwed in the end. Well, thank you Senators Nelson and (pfft) Martinez, all our Congressional lesser lights and the tourist board morons screaming about tarballs on the beach. It’s looking like we’re gonna get those oil rigs 100 miles out anyway, lose how many thousands of miles of sovereignty that we’ll never get back, with nary a dime for the effort. Better the devil you know, than the one you have no control over. And they’re still sputtering the same tune, in the face of this.

But Florida senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez vowed to oppose the measure if it emerges as part of the energy bill this week. They believe they can derail the plan if the powerful coalition of coastal states remains together, and Nelson has threatened to mount a filibuster to derail it if the provision is included in the final bill.

WHAT coalition, when Washington is waving billions of dollars and extended territory at your neighbors? I think the ‘united Florida delegation’ is gonna hear a collective ‘see ya!’ Brain dead, I swear to God. Haven’t they ever heard ‘be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it?’ Welcome to La La Land.
UPDATE: Comment notes via email, as those are still non-functioning, in the extended version.

Mr. Bingely, could you explain more of what you mean by “losing more of our sovereignty” ? I used to work for a marine survey company and worked quite extensively in plotting out pipelines that were within the three mile state
limit. All other lines outside that three miles were in federal waters, and then into international, as it were, but in the Gulf, all that was primarily discussed was state and federal. I dont see how that will ever change, or how it could possibly have anything to do with making one entity’s sovereignty more important than another. The state/federal distinctions have more to do with regulating oil company restrictions than who gets the benefit of the profit.
I could be totally wrong though. Its been a few years since I worked that job.
The diagonal drilling is no surprise to me, as much of it has to do with avoiding the Flower Gardens, and approaching deposits from an angle that will utilize less surface area (if my understanding is correct) Its been sometime since I looked at ageological/topographical map of the Gulf, but thats how it plays out in my mind at least.
Hope the hacker gets wiped.
Sharon Ferguson

My answer:

Hey Sharon,
THS here and I’m the guilty party that wrote the post, being the Florida resident. What I meant ‘sovereignty’-wise was the gerry mandering of state ‘borders/waters’ the article talked about. I’d always been under the impression, as you stated in your note, that it was federal past the 3 mile limit. This article says that, once past the (FL talking points) 100 mile limit offshore from Pensacola (my home port), for purposes of state drilling right leases and (most importantly) the payment of royalties to the state, 101 miles due south of the panhandle effectively becomes Alabama. That’s what I was referring to, along with the ‘allowing LA and AL to reap the financial benefits’. Did I make any sense there? Hope so.
And what a cool job you had! Did you get out to the rigs? I know that’s what the huge brouhaha is here on the FL Gulfcoast. We’ve all been to AL beaches and the oil rigs line the horizen. Just looks damn awful, plus they’re so close in, God forbid something happens, there’s goo on the beaches real quick. So I’m sure that’s where that ‘100 miles’ comes from that FL chants like a mantra. They have the opportunity to do it the right way, far offshore and with any environmental restrictions they could come up with, but instead have gone to a ‘take no prisoners, pump no oil’ approach. It seems to have bitten them this time. And that’s a shame because we really could have had our cake and eaten it too. Now it’s going to be a nightmare and an unresolvable one, if those knuckleheads don’t get off the no drilling pony.
Anyways, Bingster just heard from hosting matters that they disabled the comments on several blogs because of spammers and the like, so hopefully we’ll be up and running. Would you mind terribly if I posted your email/my reply in the comments when we have a chance? I’d hate for anyone to miss out on your experience. Just let me know. And thanks hugely for the email.
Here’s to McCabe’s Aztecs hunting down the spammers.
Later gator!

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