The Sun Sentinel has a front page report about how the oil and gas industries wants to thump south Florida looking for oil, and because of all the lessons learned from Deep Horizons, how safe it is to drill near the Florida shore. I have yet to hear about the potential for ecological damage in the Everglades (out water supply), but we have heard about the thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenues he state will get according to the lobbyist in Congress and the State. The article points out that some in the oil and gas industry think the lobbyists are overplaying their estimates. Let’s see, North Dakota, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alaska, Kansas, Wyoming, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are all states that depend on oil. They all had huge deficits because oil revenues did not match the industry projections – for example New Mexico suffered a $200 million loss, Louisiana $171 billion less to work with, Alaska a $3.4 billion shortfall, but $14.7 billion in revenues. The oil industry has shed 100,000 of those high paying jobs, and has the fewest oil rigs in production in years. Growth in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas may be cut by 2/3 of prior estimates as a result. A double hit on anticipated revenues.
Meanwhile, green California has created more jobs than any state, lowered unemployment, increased state revenues, finally has a surplus, and has created over 100,000 businesses in the past two years, all without investing in oil and gas. I wonder if there is a lesson to be learned there? Florida has always been a boom state. Oil and gas are clearly boom and bust industries, with big lobbies. So we need to ask ourselves, do we really trust their projections, or the reality we see today? And do we really want to risk another potential boom/bust industry for the sake of short term or variable gains? Does Florida have more to lose than it does to gain with oil and gas? Will this really help us long –term? We need to ask these questions, and while we will no doubt need oil and gas for the future, do we really want to risk Florida’s future for potential oil and gas reserves? I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?