Offshore Drilling Along Panhandle Coast: A 'NO' or a 'GO?'

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

In a speech Wednesday, at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, President Obama made it clear he is steering the country away from a 20-year-old ban on most offshore drilling.

Obama credits his decision to clear the way for oil drilling off most U.S. shores, in order to harness the nation's energy resources, while at the same time, protecting natural resources. And during Wednesday's speech, Obama explained the new policy will lift a 20-year ban, which will now allow oil drilling off Virginia's shoreline, and additionally, consider drilling for a big chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. The 20-year-ban had limited drilling along coastal areas other than the Gulf of Mexico. It appears, the Pacific coastline in addition to the environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in Alaska coastlines will remain unscathed.

The current limit on offshore drilling is 40 miles from the coastline, but several proposals would change that limit to as close as 10 miles.

At the end of February, State Senate President Designate, Mike Haridopolis, filed a bill to allow drilling within the military training ranges in the Gulf. But local groups in the Panhandle fear energy exploration in the Gulf could potentially harm military operations at Tyndall Air Force Base, threatening the 60 billion dollar a year impact.

Obama said his new plans’ are intended to spur jobs, bring in lease revenue and cut dependence on foreign oil. President Obama says, nothing is off the table, and “It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development."

Obama contends he understands not all parties will agree with is decision, however he says, reversing the ban is necessary to feed the nation's appetite for energy, claiming it's part of a broader strategy to move the country away from depending on fossil fuel and foreign oil.

Voice your opinion and comment below, about offshore drilling along the Florida Panhandle Coastline.

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