A Lemon Is a Lemon, Despite the Sugar

There was a laughable article written over the weekend by economist Hank Fishkind. Mr. Fishkind is the economist who originally supplied the Florida Energy Associates with grossly exaggerated figures representing supposed benefits from drilling in Florida's waters. This piece, yet again, was just a bit of propaganda touting numbers and statistics that have no real solid ties to what we know as reality.

This time, Mr. Fishkind and drilling proponents are trying to play on Floridians' fears of the economy and of the state's unemployment levels. Oil drilling is offered as a silver bullet to slay the beast of slumped economic activity high and unemployment rates. All apologies, but it is just not so.

Fishkind’s estimated $2.3 billion a year in revenue and severance taxes is wholly dependent upon a three billion barrel undiscovered reserve and an unrealistic projected production of 150 million barrels per year over the next 20 years. This must be viewed in light of the USGS’s report Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources in Tertiary Strata of the Gulf Coast, 2007. This report states there is an estimated 690 million barrels of oil (Mbo) on shore and in state waters throughout the ENTIRE region of the Southeast. Realistically speaking then, Florida would have some fraction of that estimated 690 million barrels of oil. Also needed for comparison, the state waters of Alaska, California, Texas, and Louisiana combined have been averaging about 8.5 Mbo a month putting it on par with 102 Mbo a year. Can we really expect Florida to outperform these four other oil-producing states, combined?

Oil will not be Florida's savior.  Florida simply doesn't have enough of it. Even if Florida did, how altruistic do we really believe oil companies and politicians to be? Promises that oil revenues would be diverted to fund education and increase health care is more preposterous than coating a lemon with sugar to hide its sourness. The bite in this case would come from the risk oil drilling would pose to Florida's tourist economy, the real work-horse of the state's economy.

For more on the case against oil drilling, please visit Protect Florida's Beaches.

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