EnergyFLA: Florida Should Follow California's Lead to Drill in State Waters



Florida should look at California's landmark bipartisan agreement to permit oil drilling in state waters as a way to put people to work and help fund vital public services in the face of a historic budget deficit, a coalition of advocates said today. As part of the innovative agreement, California will reap a $100 million advance royalty payment and more than $1.8 billion in future revenue generated from a single oil platform.

EnergyFLA, a coalition of groups that support opening up Florida's Gulf Coast waters to energy exploration, says this agreement demonstrates the tremendous potential revenues Florida could gain from tapping the vast oil and natural gas reserves in the state's offshore waters.

Economist Hank Fishkind, principal of Fishkind & Associates, projects that Florida’s revenues from authorizing the exploration and production of the state's offshore oil and natural gas reserves could range from $2.2 billion a year to as much as $12 billion a year.

In addition to state revenues, offshore drilling and production could add more than $7 billion a year to Florida's economy and create more than 40,000 jobs, according to Fishkind's conservative baseline estimates. Higher projections show a Florida-based energy sector would grow the state's economy by $41 billion a year and create 231,000 new Florida jobs.

"California is demonstrating the potential benefits of offshore production to the state by reaping nearly $2 billion from a single platform. Florida could easily surpass that amount based on what we know about our reserves," Fishkind said. "With one out of every 10 Floridians unemployed, we would be foolish to ignore the economic potential of Florida's vast natural resources."

California's proposal allows the state to avoid deep cuts in social service programs proposed in the face of a $26 billion state deficit. Florida's state budget has faced similar challenges in recent years, as the economic downturn has drastically reduced state revenue.
 



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