by Rod D. Martin
November 15, 2006

Score one for the good guys!  And score one for NFRA activists, who made their voices heard yesterday in Florida.

The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service has been holding public hearings around the country on the President’s plan to expand offshore drilling off Alaska, part of Virginia and on the outer continental shelf off Florida.  The final hearing was yesterday in Panama City, Florida, and it was a blow-out for the voices of reason.  In a room packed with Floridians who identify with FreedomWorks and the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, speaker after speaker spoke truth to power, and told the Washington bureaucrats that every dollar we spend on foreign oil buys the bullets Islamofacists fire at our servicemen, and the bombs al Qaeda detonates in London, Madrid and New York City.

It’s about time.  Even before the recent Chevron discovery in the deep Gulf that is widely expected in increase U.S. proved reserves by a whopping 50%, the known amount of oil and natural gas off Florida alone was enough to heat 100 million homes for 60 years, or completely replace America’s imports from the Middle East for 59 years.  The numbers are amazing.  The arguments against it are ludicrous.

Sierra Clubbers — the same people who support the Communist Daniel Ortega’s return to the Presidency of Nicaragua on a sea of Marxist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s OPEC oil money — will of course disagree.  But the people in that room were divers, fishing boat captains, people who depend on our environment and on the tourism it produces.  They aren’t stupid:  they know what an oil spill would mean.  But they also know that even Hurricane Katrina — which rampaged through the heart of the Gulf oil fields — wasn’t enough to produce a spill.  Today’s technology is amazing:  the press gives it no credit.  And that makes for uninformed, stupid decisions.

But yesterday, Floridians stood up and showed that they aren’t one bit uninformed.  Florida is the third biggest energy consumer among all the states, and its population will increase by 10 million over the next few years.  It needs to produce its own gas and oil, and it needs the good jobs that will come with that.  It also needs to do its part:  all of us need to reduce dependence on foreign oil.  The unrealistic, goofy Sierra Club answer is to cease using oil (this, you’ll recall, is an organization whose President in the early nineties called humanity a “cancer on the earth” and openly hoped that a plague would wipe out half of us to “help bring the earth back into balance”).  These old hippie radicals don’t live in the real world. It’s time we quit funding our enemies.  So thank you Florida, and thank you to NFRA’s friends across the state, for standing up for what’s right.  You made a difference, for all of us.