For Texas politicians who support the oil and gas industry: They’re not hypocritical about it.Congressman Dan Crenshaw, for example, believes in climate change and Expand the use of fossil fuels, including through offshore energy exploration. He is not alone. In 2021, a group of House Republicans from Texas, including Lance Gooden, Ronny Jackson and August Pforger, co-authored with Crenshaw legislation to continue Drilling, right off the coast of their own state. You can agree or disagree with their position, but in either case you have to give it to them – they are in agreement.
Meanwhile, in Florida, those pro-oil have a, uh, more nuanced Perspectives on energy exploration. Broadly speaking, they support it – they just want it to happen elsewhere, please.
Last week, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who represents a district that includes parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Added the amendment The House’s Strategic Production Response Act would continue to ban offshore drilling in his home state. It’s an issue the Florida Republican has been passionate about for most of his House tenure, and since taking office in 2017, he has successfully advocated for a ban on offshore exploration — but only as far as it affects Florida. Gates voted against similar bans in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Colorado’s White River National Forest, neither of which has waterfront properties owned by his constituents.
Gates found a novel framework for expressing his opposition to drilling in his own backyard, even as he supports drilling in other Americans’ backyards: It’s not that his constituents don’t want to risk potential spill pollution The risk of their pristine beaches (a Gaetz, whose politically connected father chairs an organization responsible for distributing tens of millions of dollars in federal funding to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gaetz knows a little bit about it) . His fellow Floridians may talk about it in those terms, but Gates has maintained throughout his congressional career that his stance is liberal and free from hypocrisy: He’s not just defending his beaches because he thinks they are Too beautiful to risk (although in introducing the amendment, he did note that “the coastal communities in these areas are generally opposed to offshore drilling”). No, it’s because he’s a patriot following the Pentagon’s guidance.
Why Does the Pentagon Care About Drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast? Because there’s the gulf proving ground there, and it’s home to various weapons testing operations, and the air force would rather not have to deal with oil rigs or offshore wind turbines (they don’t pose a pollution risk, but can be cooled, Top Gun: Maverick-style dogfights are more dangerous, which can become a thorn in the side of beachgoers). Is the Gulf Proving Ground the only facility of its kind in the United States? almost not. There are seventeen (although Florida is the only one on the water).
Still, the testing coverage provides a convenient excuse for Florida Republicans, who prefer to give their NIMBYism some cover. Gaetz is not alone in this regard. Last year, Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Congressman Michael Walz (of Boynton Beach) issued a press release attacking the Biden administration’s proposal to strip the state’s coastline from The proposal for energy exploration conservation also touts the Gulf Test Site and “Florida’s pristine environment” as justification.
This is all a clever positioning, but it does not stand up to careful scrutiny. Does Gates’ show patriotism know no bounds? No, it’s definitely limited by his interest in keeping the Florida coastline free of oil rigs and wind turbines.he was the only republican representative to vote be opposed to Last year’s U.S. Energy Independence from Russia Act, which would expand natural gas production and reauthorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, also opens up new oil and gas leases to the Gulf Coast. Gates also said that removing U.S. military support for Ukraine should be a top national priority — a position Pentagon leaders would never agree with.
Patriotism aside, Florida’s beautiful coastline — and the tourism industry that depends on it — continue to be a key reason why Florida’s beaches are worth preserving. In 2018, then-governor Scott personally lobbied then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to exempt Florida from drilling — a pitch that succeeded without mentioning the Air Force Proving Ground. “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique in that its coast relies heavily on tourism as an economic driver,” Zink said in a statement.
We said: Have you seen Galveston? Port Aransas? South Padre Island?They may not be as flashy as what you find in Florida, but they’re quite different less “Unique” than the beaches of the Sunshine State. We might argue that they just have more character! It is an ordeal to imagine places that are not touristy. (Californians make a similar argument about their own coastline, which is not protected by the federal ban.) Still, Florida enjoys a special status because the state is full of politicians who love oil drilling and strongly support U.S. goals Energy independence – as long as it’s happening elsewhere, it’s best to stay away from them. bless their hearts.