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Hey Congress you listening to the American People? Last week some national Polls reported that the American People want Congress to allow drilling off of our Coast, now its a poll of Florida voters 61% of which say we should be drilling off of the coast of Florida. While the oil production could take years to harvest, the effect of tapping the vast natural gas reserves off of the Florida coast will be felt relatively quickly:

“If Florida were to remove its restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico near its coast, just 25 miles south of our Panhandle lies as much as 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” Mica said. “It could be brought to market in a very quick timeframe – it could be a matter of months, it could be a couple of years. The reserves represent a quantity that is the equivalent of providing fuel for electricity for a city the size of Tallahassee for 140 years.”

Of Course first we need for the Democratic Party controlled congress to wake up and smell the coffee. Read on for more of the poll results:

Offshore drilling draws support Poll: More Americans believe oil exploration should be top

priority By BRIAN NEILL

With a group of restaurants fronting the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway, it probably comes as no surprise that Ed Chiles has strong views about drilling for oil off Florida’s coast.”I think that’s a bad bet,” said Chiles, owner of the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. “The beaches are Florida’s livelihood, and we just can’t afford an oil spill. I don’t see the payoff. We need to get off fossil fuels, and we need to be conserving fuels and developing alternative sources of energy, and it’s time for action, not talk.”But with oil prices soaring ever higher, more people are apparently willing to accept the risk of damage to the environment if it would mean cheaper gas.A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center revealed that 47 percent of respondents considered energy exploration, drilling and the building of new power plants to be the country’s top priority.Five months ago, 35 percent held that view, according to the survey.Respondents were more accepting of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and 60 percent felt increasing energy supplies was more important than protecting the environment. Fifty-four percent felt that way in February.Another poll conducted June 24 by InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position on behalf of Associated Industries of Florida found that 61 percent of Florida’s registered voters favored increased exploration and production of oil and natural gas off Florida’s coast.Jose Gonzalez, vice president of governmental affairs with Associated Industries of Florida, said that figure was in the high 50s last year.”We thought we were going to see some increase in the number of folks who were OK with drilling in Florida waters,” Gonzalez said. “But we were surprised to see that number increase as much as it did.”Also surprising was the number of respondents who were open to drilling at any distance from the shore, Gonzalez said.”Twenty-two percent said (drill) anywhere it could be found,” Gonzalez said. “Usually that’s in the single digits. Usually people are more comfortable with saying 50 miles out or 125 miles out.”Dave Mica is one who believes it’s time to start drilling in the Gulf for oil and natural gas.Mica, a lobbyist with the Florida Petroleum Council, argues that the risk of oil spills along Florida’s beaches is exaggerated and the resources in the Gulf too plentiful to ignore.”If Florida were to remove its restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico near its coast, just 25 miles south of our Panhandle lies as much as 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” Mica said. “It could be brought to market in a very quick timeframe – it could be a matter of months, it could be a couple of years. The reserves represent a quantity that is the equivalent of providing fuel for electricity for a city the size of Tallahassee for 140 years.”Mica argues that the public’s attention remains focused on a few serious oil spills in past years, rather than the day-to-day safety track record of the oil industry. More oil finds its way into nature on its own than by man-made mishaps, Mica argues.”Oil seeps naturally,” Mica said. “You know, think of the ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ and Jed Clampett and the bubbling crude. More oil seeps naturally than is spilled by man. It does not minimize situations that occur and the necessity for cleaning them up, but I think it’s irresponsible not to look at the track record of the energy industry as a whole.”But Holly Binn, field director of the environmental advocacy group Environment Florida, doesn’t buy that argument.”I think what folks forget is what’s at stake are some of the best beaches in the world,” Binn said. “We truly have world-class beaches along the Florida coast. I think people in Bradenton know what’s it’s been like when we’ve had outbreaks of red tide. When you think about what even a very small spill washing up on those beaches would do, it would be just very crippling.”Manatee County Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Neil Spirtas said the chamber supports the current ban on drilling closer than 125 miles from shore.State Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, opposes drilling off Florida’s coast and doesn’t believe that would provide a solution to the nation’s oil crisis in the first place.Galvano thinks one of the foremost culprits of rising gas prices is oil companies not upping their refining capacity and not drilling on property on which they already have oil leases.That argument has been echoed in recent days by Democrats in Congress.According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there are 7,740 active leases on the nation’s submerged lands and only 1,655 in production.Guy Caruso, who heads the federal Energy Information Administration, recently said consumers would see little savings at the pump as the result of opening up protected land to drilling.Added Galvano: “What no one is talking about is that we have been losing (refining) infrastructure steadily for the last 27 years. Your big oil companies, they make their money on exploration and discovering fuels. It’s as if we have 1,000 potatoes and 500 hungry people and only one pot to boil them in. It’s not as if we go out and find more potatoes those people are going to get fed faster.”Galvano also believes more efforts must be made to develop alternative fuels and improve mass transit.Although he’s not opposed to drilling for oil in the Gulf, State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, agrees more needs to be done to develop alternative energy.”I don’t have any problem with drilling per se,” Bennett said. “What I have a problem with is if, in fact, they start drilling for oil, will they put renewable energy on the back burner? I believe if the government of the United States gave renewable energy the same attention as the Manhattan Project or NASA, I believe we can actually do that faster than we can drilling for oil. The oil companies are not going to make any money off conservation.”That said, the senator believes the environmental concern of drilling in the Gulf is overblown.”Even if I may not like oil companies, they have a pretty good track record and I just think that’s an overplayed deal,” Bennett said. “From a fisherman’s point of view, I’d love to see oil rigs out there. It’s an artificial reef. So there’s a part of me that would want to see that.”

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