I support an energy policy that promotes clean, renewable, domestic sources of energy that will fuel an economy that is sustainable, while protecting our environment and promoting our national security. I believe it is critical that energy policy works to prevent the worst effects of climate change by dramatically reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases over the next several decades.
Reliance on foreign-imported fossil fuels leaves us vulnerable to economic disruption by foreign nations wishing to influence U.S. foreign policy. We can no longer afford to ignore the fact that we import the majority of our petroleum, often from countries that do not share our democratic principles. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we are the world’s third largest producer of petroleum at 8.5 million barrels a day, but we consume 19.5 million barrels a day, which is nearly 25% of the world’s consumption. Unfortunately, we sit on only about 3% of the world’s proven reserves, so no matter what extremes we go to in exploring for oil domestically, we simply cannot drill our way out of this problem. And as we know, going to those extremes can have devastating consequences.
While we address climate change and move to renewable sources of energy, we must protect our coastlines from the threat of offshore oil drilling. Throughout my legislative career, I have consistently stood in opposition to the expansion of drilling off the coast of Florida. As the explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent oil spill has shown us, offshore drilling could easily bring oil slicks to Florida’s western and eastern coasts, and even penetrate the Florida Everglades. Oil spills threaten our state’s vulnerable coastal ecosystems, which are home to some of our most precious and diverse wildlife. Fortunately, Florida was mostly spared the worst effects of the BP oil spill, but we may not be so lucky next time. I will continue to oppose efforts to expand offshore oil and gas exploration, while working to ensure we can adequately and rapidly respond when spills do occur.
Expanded offshore drilling not only threatens Florida’s ecosystem and economy, but contributes nothing to weaning our nation of dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Drilling in the Eastern Gulf would potentially increase domestic production by a mere five percent, an increase to the world supply of less than one percent. Adding a fraction of a percent to the global oil supply will not lower gas prices and ignores the critical need to develop alternative energy supplies that finally break our addiction to fossil fuels.
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