POINT OF VIEW: Offshore energy key for Florida’s future

Palm Beach Post | Julio Fuentes | May 4, 2018

Floridians will vote on a number of constitutional amendments in November. While some of these ballot amendments are warranted and much-needed changes, one measure, in particular, has the potential to endanger our state’s future. Amendment 9, which would permanently ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off Florida’s coastal waters, could cause irreparable damage to our energy future and hinder new opportunities for economic development.

Offshore energy development has been taking place for decades and is largely a safe and proven technique to obtain oil and natural gas under the ocean floor. It is easy to focus on the times where oil and natural gas companies have had accidents and incidences where equipment has gone faulty, however, it’s few and far between when compared to the millions of successful times — and those are times that continue to allow us to have hot water and keep our lights on.

It is important to be educated as voters and understand the existing moratorium at the federal level already prohibits companies from drilling off Florida’s state waters.

Our Florida CRC commissioners who sponsored this proposal have good intentions about public concern and we certainly respect their efforts to protect Florida’s future, however, a constitutional ban is redundant and unnecessary in this case. The proposal’s intent is to provide Floridians with the right to clean water and clean air, but oil and natural gas are actually proven to help continue to reduce carbon emissions versus other forms of energy production.

Read the full op-ed here.

Julio Fuentes is the president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.