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Industry Study: Floridians Favor Offshore Oil Drilling

This map shows active oil exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico as of August 15, 2014.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The federal government has been slowly opening the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean for more offshore oil development. Developers say public opinion is on their side, but not everyone shares the same view.

The Florida Petroleum council is out with a new study it says proves the public favors offshore oil drilling. According to the Council’s survey, more than 60 percent of Floridians support offshore drilling. The study comes as the federal government plans more oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic region. But most of Florida’s coast will remain off limits to developers, according to the federal government’s proposed five-year oil development plan.  That’s disappointing, says the Florida Petroleum Council’s David Mica.

“We missed a big opportunity for exploiting our resources in the most manageable way. We think the administration has compromised our ability to compete globally," he says.

According to the Panama City News Herald,  a recent meeting there to discuss oil leases resulted in near universal opposition to offshore drilling. The Herald says one reason Florida’s coast is off-limits is due to a request by the Department of Defense for military training.