Support safe offshore energy exploration

Tallahassee Democrat | Mark Alvarez | July 6, 2017

As a U.S. Army veteran and proud member of Florida Vets4Energy, I am pleased to see the Executive Order by President Trump to explore offshore resources prioritizing safe U.S. energy development.

The direct correlation between energy security and our country’s national security became apparent during my time fighting overseas. Most of the oil we import comes from countries in the Middle East – unfriendly and unstable countries that certainly do not have America’s best interests at heart.

I chose to fight for our country because I feel a sense of duty protect our country, which is exactly why the issue of energy security is so important to me.

Before we open our waters to drilling of any kind, energy companies can find the precise location of oil and natural gas reservoirs through a decades-old process called seismic surveying. Seismic surveys help reduce the risk of damaging the environment by helping to select the most appropriate locations to consider drilling and eliminate many targets well before drilling would even be considered. Think of the process as a “CAT scan” of the ocean.

Over the course of eight decades, we have seen how environmentally safe and successful seismic surveying can be. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s chief environmental officer has even stated there has been no reported damage to marine life from seismic surveying in its 80-year existence. Furthermore, accessing our offshore energy resources is safer now than ever before, with a rigorous permitting process ensuring the environment is protected.

Despite having a proven ability to safely explore our offshore energy resources, current regulations keep over 90 percent of federal waters off limits to drilling and exploration. Blocking our access to millions of acres of oil and natural gas hinders our country’s ability to become energy independent, while also forfeiting opportunities to add revenue to our economy and employ hardworking Americans.

Read the full op-ed here.

Mark Alvarez is a U.S. Army veteran and member of Florida Vets4Energy.