Report for House speaker says threat of oil drilling minimal

A new report that models the risks of oil drilling in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico says oil spills are unlikely to pose a major threat to Florida.

The House Select Policy Council on Strategic & Economic Planning is scheduled to meet Wednesday to hold another in a series of workshops on oil drilling. Progress Florida and the Sierra Club said last week’s oil spill of 18,000 gallons in a national wildlife refuge in Louisiana points to the danger of allowing drilling in state or federal waters off Florida’s coast.

But David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council on Monday described the spill from a pipeline as unfortunate but a minute fraction of the amount transported to and around Forida every day.

The 177-page report by Willis Structured Risk Solutions, dated April 9, states that of more than 1,000 barrels is a one-in-100-year event. The report, which the firm says was requested by House Speaker Larry Cretul, emphasizes the “great uncertainty” of whether there is oil and gas in state waters.

The report is likely to generate debate as it states that most large spills in the Gulf of Mexico were from shipping and not oil exploration and production and that hurricanes are not a source of large spills. The report states that drilling in north Florida would pose risk to sensitive habitats and that drilling could proceed there if issues potential military conflicts are resolved.

Willis Structured Risk Solutions also says that risk management could be enhanced by aligning development with drilling in federal waters and by tapping into experience from other states in maritime planning.

To download a copy of the report, as part of the House Select Policy Council’s meeting packet, click here.

(Story content provided by the Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)