Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jeff Miller's Gamble

Graphic courtesy of Skytruth

Is Pensacola's congressman, Jeff Miller, gambling with Northwest Florida beaches?

According to multiple news reports, he's undercutting fellow Florida congressmen and senators of both parties and plans to vote for a proposal that would allow oil and gas drilling within 50 miles of Pensacola Beach. As today's WaPo reports:
"Under the legislation, the buffer that now prevents drilling up to 100 miles out from the coastline would be shrunk back to 50 miles, though states could decide to allow drilling even closer to their shores."
It's a mystery why Miller would invite drilling rigs to set up so close to the world-famous sugar white sands of the Florida panhandle, particularly now when scientists are widely agreed that we have entered a multi-decadal period of increased hurricane activity.

Hurricanes are just one of the many things that could wash ruinous oil globs onto the white sands of Pensacola Beach, of course. But they are the most obviously-growing threat.

Just last month even the drilling-friendly U.S. Mineral Management Service confirmed substantial oil and gas pollution occurred as a result of hurricanes Rita (Cat. 4) and Katrina (Cat. 5). The storms caused at least one major oil spill and 6 lesser spills. At last count 457 under-sea pipelines were damaged or destroyed.

As the National Research Council reminded us in its 2003 report, "Oil in the Sea," all available studies completed over the last two decades show --
"significant environmental damage... can be caused by spills of petroleum into the marine environment. No spill is entirely benign. Even a small spill at the wrong place, at the wrong time, can result in significant damage to individual organisms or entire populations."
Of course, it's all a matter of probabilities, like playing Russian Roulette. No doubt, Jeff Miller is gambling that he can vote for any damn thing he wants because conservative Republican constituents in the Panhandle will reelect him, regardless.

Maybe so, maybe not. Judging from the conservative friends we hear from, a lot of them are having second thoughts about the "preventive war" in Iraq Miller voted for.

How much less will they like it when they learn Miller is undercutting "preventive protection" for our beaches?

Dept. of Amplification

Late last week, the Palm Beach Post identified Jeff Miller as a prime actor in splitting the Florida congressional delegation, which "for a quarter century" had been unanimous in protecting Gulf shore communities from the petroleum drillers.
Linda Pierce, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club, said the Florida delegation's split has encouraged members from other states to push for more drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, particularly in the potentially natural gas-rich eastern gulf.

"They have always had the strength of standing together," Pierce said of the Florida delegation. "I'm afraid that the chink in the armor is part of what is allowing this to be alive in Congress."


Anonymous said...

You poor people. Miller is a joke. He is among the dumbest here. Can't get anything done.

Bryan said...

Adam Putnam [Republican from down state who looks like Howdy Doody and is Katherine Harris's first cousin] is also in on this fracturing of the unity on this issue.

Debby Wasserman-Schultz is on their case, but the damage is done.