Progress Florida today released a social media video calling on Republican state senate candidates Jason Brodeur (SD-9) and Ana Maria Rodriguez (SD-39) to take a stand when it comes to protecting Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling. The video highlights a report that the Presidential candidate both Brodeur and Rodriguez support, Donald Trump, plans to open Florida’s Gulf coast to oil drilling after the November election. There is a Brodeur and a Rodriguez version of the ad.
“Trump has big plans for Florida’s coastlines,” the video begins, “…but he doesn’t want you to know about them until after the election.” Reporting from Politico indicates President Trump plans to allow oil and gas drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast after the election, but before the end of his term. The video ends by encouraging viewers to call Brodeur and Rodriguez and ask if they “stand with Donald Trump and Big Oil or with Floridians who want to protect our coast and economy?”
“President Trump’s secretive scheme to open up Florida’s Gulf Coast to dirty fossil fuel drilling – on the 10-year anniversary of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill disaster no less – is a slap in the face to Floridians who overwhelmingly oppose auctioning our beaches to Big Oil,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo.
Floridians have a history of bipartisan opposition to offshore oil drilling. A Quinnipiac poll last year found that 64% of Floridians are opposed to the practice. And in November 2018 Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 9, which banned oil and gas drilling in state waters.
“Floridians are unified against dirty, dangerous oil drilling and in favor of clean, renewable energy like solar power which will save consumers and businesses money today and protect our coastal waters, beaches, and economies for tomorrow,” said Ferrulo. “The question our video is asking is whether candidates for the Florida Legislature who otherwise support Trump will stand up to his reckless plan to open up the Gulf to oil and gas drilling.”
Offshore drilling is the slowest, dirtiest and most expensive way to generate energy. According to the federal Mineral Management Service, hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 113 oil platforms, damaged 457 pipelines, caused 124 spills totaling 741,000 gallons of oil including six spills of 1,000 barrels or greater. And that was all before BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster wreaked havoc on the waters, wildlife, and local communities throughout Florida’s Gulf region.