Mark Woods: Drill here, risk what makes Florida great

Florida’s waters have been off limits to drilling for many years. A plan introduced final Thursday would change that.

For those who take a look at the maps included within the Division of the Inside’s 380-web page doc, one factor that jumps out is which giant space of Florida waters would open to drilling first.

Not within the Gulf. Not immediately, a minimum of. The waters from the Panhandle all the best way right down to the Everglades stay off limits at the very least till an present moratorium ends in 2022.

Not within the Keys or South Florida. Within the draft plan, solely a sliver of these waters are in potential drilling areas.

The most important space of Florida waters to go from off limits to open for drilling in 2020 can be … from Melbourne to Fernandina Seashore.

This doesn’t imply it should occur. It stays unclear what oil corporations would do if given the chance to drill in our liquid yard. What is obvious is that having drilling off your shores isn’t a magic financial bullet for what occurs on your shores (see Louisiana and Alabama) and it may be devastating (see Deepwater Horizon).

There are few issues that may nonetheless deliver collectively politicians from each side of the aisle. However in Florida, that is one among them.

To his credit score, Gov. Rick Scott didn’t hesitate to interrupt ranks with the White Home. Even earlier than the plan was formally unveiled, Scott despatched out a press release.

“I’ve already requested to right away meet with Secretary Zinke to debate the considerations I’ve with this plan and the essential have to take away Florida from consideration,” he stated.

A cynic may say this response is all a part of Scott’s preparation to run for Senate towards Invoice Nelson. However I’ll give him credit score. No matter his motivation, he was unequivocal in his response.

Everywhere in the state, there was robust and swift response.

Nelson, a Democrat who has opposed efforts by presidents of each events to increase drilling off our shores, referred to as this plan “an assault on Florida’s financial system, our nationwide safety, the desire of the general public and the surroundings.” Even U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, whom President Trump endorsed for governor, shortly broke with the White Home on this one.

Some coastal mayors weighed in. And when the plan was introduced final Thursday, the Occasions-Union tried to get a remark from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. There was no response.

I adopted up with an e-mail Monday morning. Extra silence.

Once we obtained a press release Tuesday afternoon, he…

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