Friday, June 4, 2010

$200,000 pro-offshore drilling study funded by Florida now subject of ridicule

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A rushed April study commissioned by incoming Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, that found minimal risks in drilling off Florida's coasts, is now the subject of broad contempt in the wake of the massive and so far unstoppable BP gulf oil spill.
The study, which cost $200,000 in taxpayer money, was ridiculed in a WUSF segment on May 31, and was subsequently covered by publications ranging from the St. Petersburg Times and Creative Loafing to the Orlando Sentinel and the liberal “Daily Kos” blog.
The 177-page study is titled “Florida Gulf Coast Oil and Gas Risk Assessment.” It’s a “drill-baby-drill”-leaning document produced by a British firm called The Willis Group.
The study's key conclusion, which of course sounds laughable now, especially with reports saying oil is already hitting beaches from Pensacola to Destin, and may hit other locations shortly, is this: "Oil spills from offshore exploration, development, production and the transportation associated with these activities are unlikely to present a major risk to Florida."
Another conclusion: "A 1,000-barrel spill is a 1 in 100 year event in state waters, assuming pipelines are the main transportation option; even a spill that size would likely be intercepted through emergency response prior to reaching Florida’s shoreline."
Yet another conclusion: "We view the risks associated with oil and gas drilling in Florida State waters as serious but manageable, as incremental to the forces of nature Florida faces each year, and small relative to risks from Florida’s existing industrial activity."

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