Lately, it seems that everywhere we go today we are presented with false choices. The classic either-or dilemma. They usually look something like this:

“You’re either with us or against us!”
“You either like animals or you don’t!”
“It’s either black or it’s white!”
“You either go to college or you aren’t smart!”

We know that’s not true. Life is always a series of choices, and even when it feels like there isn’t a choice, usually you can sit down and think of better options or find compromises that will work. Below, Colburn Classroom demonstrates how false choices show up in our lives through an excerpt from The Simpsons.

An example of a false choice that we are seeing more of is around energy development and the environment, particularly in Florida where we’re preparing for the expiration of the ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) in 2022. Activist groups insist that if you care about the environment you can’t support responsible exploration for natural resources off our coasts using pictures meant to scare and dissuade people from any rational conversation. It’s the perfect advertising.

But – to say there is no safe distance is the first fallacy. From the map below, readers can see there are over 1,800 active offshore rigs that are currently operational in the Gulf of Mexico, enough to cause carpal tunnel trying to connect all the dots.

Unfortunately, what these activists groups may not know – or may not have considered – is that saying “No” and not trying to find solutions will actually HAVE an impact on Florida. That’s right, doing nothing could threaten Florida’s energy, environmental, and economic goals. So even though policymakers have said they will issue an offshore ban, what they’re really doing is putting their heads in the sand. Remember, elected officials are voted into office to make a difference and to find solutions – and that is what we need in Florida. Now, it’s up to the state’s Delegation to bring home the biggest environmental win in Florida’s history.

Without action before 2022, drilling could happen nine miles off the Gulf Coast and three miles off the rest of Florida’s coastline. No one wants that…

 

…The contours of a long-term compromise must include encouraging the ongoing cooperation between the Departments of Defense and Interior that have kept military operations, fishing, and oil and gas exploration happening in harmony in the rest of the Gulf. And we must also advocate to ensure that any exploration happen far from land, to preserve our amazing views and protect our precious coastline. And a deal must be long-term, so we do not have to go back to Congress every five or 10 years.

 

Done right, the compromise can also generate tens of millions of dollars for coastal conservation and hurricane protection. Our neighboring Gulf States this year split nearly $353 million in revenue sharing under GOMESA, all of which will go to those noble goals.

 

Tampa Bay Times – Florida Must Take the Lead in Protecting Itself and Its Future Energy Security

It won’t just be our economy that suffers from another ban, it will be our schools, our military, and our coasts.

…and healthcare for our senior citizens…

…and even the 14.5 percent of unemployed Floridians who are our friends and family that have been laid off prior to or during the COVID lockdown.

And while our elected officials play political games, offshore energy exploration will begin this year, off Florida’s coast, and there will be no benefit to either our state or our nation…

What if I told you that this whole scenario was being advanced by leaders of a state whose economy is more dependent than Florida’s on pristine beaches and tourism.

 

For years, anti-energy activists have warned about the unacceptable risks of oil drilling off of our coasts. The risks to tourism, the risks to the military, the risks to the climate, the risks to civilization as we know it…all while globetrotting on private aircraft that use fossil fuels….

 

…That’s because it is not a state or the federal government that is doing this; it is a country: the Bahamas. And the drilling? It is actually off of Florida’s East Coast.

 

The Floridian – Oil Drilling Off Florida Will Begin This Year…and Trump Had Nothing to Do With It

That’s why it is more important than ever for our elected leaders to work with the Gulf States who are united in support of offshore opportunities and other key stakeholders to try and find a compromise to the bill that is expiring. With so many things at stake, don’t we want to be at the bargaining table?

The contours of a long-term compromise must include encouraging the ongoing cooperation between the Departments of Defense and Interior that have kept military operations, fishing, and oil and gas exploration happening in harmony in the rest of the Gulf. And we must also advocate to ensure that any exploration happen far from land, to preserve our amazing views and protect our precious coastline. And a deal must be long-term, so we do not have to go back to Congress every five or 10 years.

 

Done right, the compromise can also generate tens of millions of dollars for coastal conservation and hurricane protection. Our neighboring Gulf States this year split nearly $353 million in revenue sharing under GOMESA, all of which will go to those noble goals.

 

Julio Fuentes – Tampa Bay Times – Florida Must Take the Lead in Protecting Itself and Its Future Energy Security

As one of the top energy importers, Florida is especially vulnerable to price fluctuations which often affect our state’s families and businesses, but it also affects anyone who is looking to travel or plan a vacation in our state. Why not have a say in our state’s energy policy? That is why we voted our officials into office – to be our voice – but also to listen to our voices. It’s time our leaders stop politicking and start creating energy solutions with leaders from the Gulf States. Our coastlines, our military, our schools, and our environment need it the most.