The following comes to us from the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. And while it cites the impact to Lee County, it directly affects us all in Charlotte County.
- Oil and Gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico would have a direct impact on the health of our tourism economy. Lee County tourism alone generates $3 Billion a year in revenue and supports 1 in 5 jobs in the County. Drilling infrastructure drives away tourism. The mere threat of oil washing up on the shores of Southwest Florida during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill resulted in an $84 million dollar loss of revenue to Lee County.
- Drilling infrastructure is vulnerable to hurricanes. More frequent and intense storms increase the chance of damage to drilling rigs and associated spills
- Seismic airgun blasting used to explore for oil and gas is harmful to marine animals interfering with communication, causing hearing and sensory loss, disorientation pain and even death. The blasting tests take place every 10 seconds for weeks at a time with the disturbing impacts being known to travel up to 1,000 miles through the ocean.
- Environmental damage from oil and gas exploration is not just from a large spill; Micro spills and routine leaks would have a direct impact on the health of our coastal waters and our fisheries. Smaller spills would also have an impact on our growing offshore artificial reef diving tourism market by killing the ecosystems in and around those reefs.
- Although the Trump administration has fast-tracked the process to undo the current drilling protections and radically expand the waters available for drilling, our Federal Senators and local Federal Representatives and our Governor have recognized the importance of continued protection of our coast.