The interior department held a public hearing in Tallahassee Thursday on its plan to allow oil and gas drilling in another two million acres off the gulf coast.
The Florida Public Interest Research Group says the plan is a threat to Florida’s beaches and its tourist-driven economy.
Holly Binns of the Florida Public Interest Research Group says, “Our message to the interior department today is simple. Floridians urge you: don’t rig Florida’s future. And we stand firmly opposed to new offshore oil and gas drilling off of our coast. The bottom line is this: offshore drilling is dirty, it’s dangerous and it doesn’t deliver.”
But the oil industry has big plans for the gulf. The Florida Petroleum Council says the hurricanes that hit last year showed that oil rigs are not the threat that environmentalists would have you believe.
David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council says, “I think many Floridians are now beginning to say ‘hey… if they can withstand a hurricane, and they can do this in an environmentally safe way, let’s do it. Especially if i don’t have to look at it and we’re talking about a significant distance off shore’.”
Officials from the Department of Interior spent two hours taking testimony and the vast majority of the speakers were against the plan.
The Governor, both US Senators and 79 state lawmakers also went on record against the drilling proposal.