Off Shore Oil Drilling Symposium

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I think we need to do it now, we tend to talk a lot," says Craig Osenberg, Ph.D. an associate professor at the University of Florida.

It was all talk Monday afternoon and although everyone may not agree with Craig Osenberg, the energy needs of the US and Florida's struggling economy is placing the discussion of off shore drilling off Florida's coast back on the burner.

In a symposium held Monday a panel of eight experts from all over the nation gave their two cents.

Not only about the legal challenges the state will face if the project gets the green light from legislators, but its affect on critters and their natural habitats.

"Any time a resource is taken out of the sea bed, it has to be transported in some way and it's by pipelines. There could be a significant disruption of territorial displays," says Felicia Coleman, Director of FSU's Coastal and Marine Lab.

While the potential for huge economic benefits for the state sound promising, some experts are quick to point out that there are simply no guarantees.

"Do we even know if there's any oil or gas or anything else of interest off Florida's coast? you don't know unless you look and you can't look unless you engage exploratory activity," says Mark Davis, J.D. of Tulane University Law School.

Others believe the benefits go well beyond the dollars and cents.

"These are not problems that we can solve by industry or government or academia alone. We need to work together and as a scientist I'd like to see us use this situation to improve our information base," says Craig Osenberg, Ph.D.

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