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.
The current ban on oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico off Florida expires in 2022 but proposals to accelerate and expand drilling areas are being developed. The Federal agency tasked with making recommendations on drilling in our coastal waters is the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The BOEM is taking public input on this issue until March 9th. There are 2 other efforts to ban drilling in the Eastern Gulf including Congressional bills and a proposal by the FL Constitutional Revision Commission. The time-critical issue now is to submit comments to the BOEM by March 9th.
Please use the bullet points provided below and click on this link or the ACT NOWbutton below to submit your comments to the BOEM. Share how the effects of oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico would be harmful and potentially catastrophic to our waters, our coast and our economy and quality of life.
- 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.
The proposal to end drilling protections in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico is unnecessary, dangerous and could have devastating economic and environmental consequences associated with the expansion of drilling in our waters.
Join us in adding your personal concerns, experiences and objections in a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to preserve our economy and our environment. Comments must be submitted on the federal form that will appear when you click this link to ACT NOW.
Thank you for speaking up!