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Oil on my mind – or – A well oiled rant

Sorry for the swearing…

For the moment, let’s set aside the merits of offshore drilling. It seems to me like some “conservatives” (note the strategic use of my buddy, the quotation mark) bat around the words “offshore drilling” like it’s an act of patriotism; a shared sacrifice for a greater good. I think it’s code for building a bunch of oil platforms in Florida’s gulf waters. It’s a nice/neutral/GOP-speak way of saying “I wanna turn the west coast of Florida into a shit-hole, fuck-you very much.” As you can guess, I think I’ve got a lot to lose in this debate. Two Pinellas county beaches consistently appear at (or near) the top of a ranking of all U.S. beaches – including Hawaii. Caledesi Island (just down the road) is this year’s number one. Ft Desoto was number one in 2005. Call me a selfish prick, but I think that’s worth something. Then again, my car isn’t big enough to re-enact the sinking of the Titanic, so my sensibilities don’t mirror those of the Hummer horde.

What I can’t figure is why the director of a Florida tourism organization (not in Orlando) would be in favor of drilling. Tell me friends, how many hotels does an oil rig fill? (figuratively speaking, of course)


Larry White, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau on Florida’s Gulf Coast, said the area depends on its pristine beaches but is also affected by rising gas prices. He said 70 percent of the area’s tourists drive all the way to the Bradenton area — many of them from Texas.

“I want to protect my beaches,” he said. “But if we don’t get some relief they’re going to say, ‘I can’t afford to come.’ “

Let me get this straight. A bunch of folks are driving all the way from Texas to see our beaches (even those not within a 4-5 hour drive of the major theme parks). Don’t they know they have beaches in Texas too? Even if gas is relatively cheap, semi-circumnavigating* the Gulf of Mexico is more expensive than a quick trip to the coast.

Oh… I know. Maybe it’s because the black stuff doesn’t seem so golden when it’s mixed with sand and accumulating between your toes.

I’ll bet you’ve been waiting for me to take down those hanging merits. I’ll warn you though: this won’t be a comprehensive review. My time’s in short supply lately, so I’ll only be covering those points with handy, off the shelf rejoinders. Still, you may feel free to consider the sentiments genuine.

Unless you’re a tree-hugger or a hotel owner, you might be thinking oil is WAY greener than tourism – in the only way it matter$. That may be true in the short term, but what happens when the oil runs out? How long are we left with the crap that’s left behind? Maybe you’re among those who see the burning of the world’s oil as America’s manifest destiny, but the price at the pump is ruining your ride’s allure… its mojo. I’d ask you to consider an oft-cited government study which suggests tapping the remaining offshore oil in the U.S. wouldn’t have an impact on domestic oil supply or prices until 2030. Granted, the study arrives at the 2030 date by assuming we wouldn’t start exploring/drilling until the current federal bans expire, in 2012; but either way you slice it (2030 or 2026)… that’s a long time before we’d see any changes in price. Or consider this quote from the report (taken somewhat out of context, but I think still applicable):

Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.

So yeah, let’s get right on that.

I know what you’re thinking: a government study, from this administration? Yeah, I know. Leave it to the Bush boys to pee on the oil parade**. (Does that qualify as sarcasm, irony, the coveted daily double; or am I just being redundant?)

Hell, I don’t know why I care. At the rate we’re going Florida will be underwater anyway.

*I thought it had a nice ring to it, even if it makes little sense and makes me sound like an idiot.

**See above.

1 Comment

  1. Something that surprises me is that no one mentions that it’s a crapshoot… They may wreck the environment, spend oodles of money, and still find nothing! And in the end, even if they are successful, delivering the oil to market is a decade away.

    If Florida wants to save it’s tourist industry, it needs to invest in metal, my friend…. trains and the rail lines that take people from every major center to Downtown Miami. That is the key to tourism in the future… that and maybe dirigibles. :-)

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