Sunday, February 19, 2012


Oil Drilling on State Conservation Lands

Blackwater River State ForestThe push to drill for oil and gas on Florida's conservation lands has intensified in recent weeks. HB 695 by Rep. Clay Ford (R-Gulf Breeze) and SB 1158 by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) seek to make it much easier for oil companies to explore and drill on our protected lands.
As currently written, these bills would limit the amount of time state regulators have to completecomprehensive environmental impact reviews of exploration and drilling proposals and give exclusive drilling rights to the exploration company.
The motivation behind this bill? A Texas oil drilling and exploration company is currently conducting seismic investigations now in Alabama and wants exclusive rights to continue their activities across the state line and into Florida.              

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Recent amendments to the House version of the bill have narrowed the scope of the drilling area, which causes lovers of natural Florida to wonder, "If you take a bad bill and amend it so that it only affects Northwest Florida, does that make it a good?" The answer is no.
The admitted target of this bill, Blackwater River State Forest, is one of Audubon’s prized nominees for Florida's Special Places, and subject of countless volunteer hours providing wildlife and habitat surveys by Francis Weston Audubon Society in Pensacola. Yet, a larger question remains: "Should drilling companies be allowed to have their thumb on the scale, making it harder for the state to protect the public’s interest in the billion dollar investment we have made in conservation lands?"
The Senate bill is on Tuesday's agenda of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee at 9:15AM. 
Don't miss the web broadcast of the committee hearing on the Florida Channel.
There is much more to read on this topic...see the whole link here:

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