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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  • by dave Location: Marianna on Apr 5, 2010 at 06:03 AM
    I'm not an Obama fan, by any means, but I'll have to agree with this one. It's about time!
  • by Anon Location: Panama City on Apr 5, 2010 at 05:23 AM
    AL, I got those numbers from the news, the Military purs $59 Billion into the state economy and the Tourist industry pours $60 Billion into the economy, So I added $1 billion, my bad, No state along the Gul that currently allows drilling, receives $119 Billion a year from drilling. We are losing 850 jobs at Tyndall already, because of the F-15 Drawdown, not because of Oil but I would hate to see more jobs lost. Drilling may bring in some 6-figure incomes but I don't think you will see alot of those and you won't see them hiring 1000's of people to work the rigs.
  • by John Location: Chipley on Apr 4, 2010 at 08:16 PM
  • by I don't get it Location: Panama City B on Apr 3, 2010 at 09:48 AM
    Don, what are you saying? I would figure less war and less "junking up of our planet" would be a good thing. And have you ever heard of supply and demand? I would think that big oil would be in favor of keeping the status quo, with oil at the current price. You bring more oil into the market, unless we have some sort of more-awesome oil, and the overall worldwide price will drop, right? Maybe I'm misremembering Economics class.
  • by James Location: Bay County on Apr 3, 2010 at 05:48 AM
    Anon, It's mainly natural gas they're after and if oil starts producing we'll take it as well. PC's current mainstay for jobs 'Tyndall' isn't going anywhere. News is calling for gas to rise above $3.00/gal this summer. I hope it keeps going closer to $4.00/gal myself. How quickly we forget about our addiction to Mid-east oil. Panama City has always and always will be a drive to destination. When families can't afford to drive here like a two summers ago we'll see how the tourism industry handles it. Oh, I almost forgot the new airport will be open and our county will be saved! Jets run off jet fuel last time I checked. Bay County where 35K jobs are a plenty. Wake up Americans! Energy independence can be acheived in a matter a years not decades. Nice little debate this article has stirred. Drill, Drill, Drill.....
  • by Chief on Apr 2, 2010 at 08:37 PM
    Drilling is not open for debate . Obamas' fascist style is anyone who disagrees is an uncooperative trouble maker determined to destroy the president just because he is black. Just like the insurance mandates.
  • by AL Location: FL on Apr 2, 2010 at 07:14 PM
    Anon, where do you come up with 120 billion ??? Stop stretching the numbers to suit your arguement !! I doubt the military would leave if the oil industry came to FL. Not only would the oil industry provide jobs on the drill rigs, you have to also think in terms of where and how the employees will spend that income. There will also be alot of new oil infrastructure jobs created along with the companies that support that infrastructure. Look at the whole picture folks. This has the potential to put alot of people back to work...
  • by James Location: Bay County on Apr 2, 2010 at 05:50 PM
    I'm a lifelong resident of Panama City and currently work in the natural gas industry drilling gas wells throughout the Appalachain Basin. The Destin Dome off our coastline contains trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. We're talking about hundreds of six figure incomes that would arrive in our area overnight. Last time I checked Panama City was hurting in the job department unless you want to clean condos, pour drinks, or serve food. It would be the largest economic boost to our local economy ever! I surf, fish, and dive and really don't want to see a rig sitting 10 miles off the beach, but over the horizon at 40 to 100 nautical miles would suit me just fine. I'm tired of hearing the NIBY's (not in my backyard) who are the first to complain about the cost of their power bill, gasoline, and home heating bill. Wake up America and let's become energy independent. We have enough Natural Gas to Power this country for a hundred years or longer.
  • by Anon Location: Panama City on Apr 1, 2010 at 07:52 AM
    There is no way Florida will get more then $120 Billion in oil every year. not to mention what about all of the jobs that would be lost, the Oil "Gods" are not going to hire that many people.
  • by AL Location: FL on Mar 31, 2010 at 08:49 PM
    It does not matter, even if the USA does break away from oil and does go with green power for transportation and energy production. The rest of the world will probably still be using oil for generations to come, IE: we sell it to them... Like we buy it from the middle east now.. Im also willing to bet an oil industry in FL would be worth a lot more than the 60 Billion we get from the military, per year now... Florida relies on tourisim for much of its current income, what happens if that tourisim dries up because the economy is so bad. We would be left with nil for income. FL is not diversified enough in its income base. We need this, we need the jobs here, we need them now !!!
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