Behind the Scenes, Small But Effective Group Helps Reverse Administration’s Trend Towards Oil Drilling Expansion
ISLAMORADA, FL, September 14, 2020 /Neptune100/ — The surprising speed of the latest Presidential Executive Order banning oil drilling off the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, was the product of behind the scenes initiatives of a small but effective environmental group, the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition (FKEC.org). Ed Russo, President of FKEC, stated “This critical protection for Florida and beyond, was driven by our long-standing concern and commitment to action to protect important natural resources and prevent negative economic impacts to livelihoods depended upon them, from commercial fisheries, to tourism activities such as sports fishing, diving and other recreational water sports.” Over the years, protection of Florida’s coast from drilling has been a target of environmental groups, the governor of FL and many others. “Our work on this issue, directly with the Whitehouse, included support from many voices over the years and last-minute supporting conversations enabled the expansion to two additional shoreline areas in a move we hope could spur additional protections,” Russo said.
Under “chamber of commerce” weather, President Donald Trump gleefully signed his latest executive order, extending a moratorium on offshore oil drilling activity protection of Florida’s west coast that was set to expire in 2022. The new order not only extends the protections until June 30, 2032 but also expanded protection to encompass all of Florida, including the Florida Straights, the Eastern Coast of Florida and both Georgia and South Carolina.
Multiple seismic testing permit applications have been submitted for areas of the east coast of Florida extending to the Southshore of New Jersey reaching out into the Atlantic beyond the continental shelf. The opposition to any type of oil production activity is nearly universal along all east coast states, but north of South Carolina the vulnerability now remains and will likely serve to stimulate debate to expand protections along the entire eastern seaboard.
The pathway forward clearly demonstrates a transition from a fossil fuel energy-based economy to a renewable energy based one, but transition will take time and will likely be a result of industrial motivation as well as legislative changes that assist in that transition. “It is important to move carefully through these transitions to prevent detrimental outcomes and disruptive changes to both livelihoods and national security,” said Russo. “However, it is important to assure that the clear risks associated with oil production are minimized by regulating expansion and fostering programs that speed the transition to renewable resources.”
FKEC.org is also the face of another pressing issue of national importance, Genetically Modified Mosquito (GMM) experimentation, where they have successfully opposed the release of the synthetic species for 9 years. Recently, many recognized experts have object to a pending release of this technology in the Keys, but after a politicalized EPA evaluation ignored the calls for independent scientific review, the poorly understood synthetic species is slated for 500,000,000 GMMs to be experimentally released in the Spring of 2021.
FKEC.org, a scientific citizens action group, is a registered Florida Not For Profit organization that was spawned out of the spontaneous community outrage at the beginning of the Deep Water Horizon, BP oil spill, that occurred in April of 2010. The Coalition was instrumental in enabling over 400 people in the local community to become “Hazwoper” certified to handle dangerous chemical, like oil, within 2 months of the explosive event in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coalition, is a collective of businesses, organizations and individuals, following a mission to support all initiatives that protect the ecosystems of the Keys.