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Oil drilling could be in Jax Beach's future

The Jacksonville Pier is one of several area locations that could see changes should there be drilling off Jax Beach.
The Jacksonville Pier is one of several area locations that could see changes should there be drilling off Jax Beach.
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Updated: 5/19/2010 9:50 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla --The spill is drawing new criticism from people here on the east coast about off shore drilling.

Rigs while you're staring out into the ocean could become a reality under a new proposal. The debate over off shore drilling is now front and  center right here on our beaches. The idea of a rig sitting in the middle of a beautiful sunset, fires them up, but what we found, is that oil companies take a big risk, just to look here.

The waves roll in on Jacksonville Beach. It's quiet. The sun glistens on the clear water, but this view could change.

Jacksonville could see oil rigs off the beach shore, if the president's proposal goes through.

"We're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect america's natural resources," said President Obama on March 31st.

The images of oil on animals, covering beaches and floating in water have some people second guessing off shore drilling. Under the presidents plan, rigs could be as close as 3 miles from the shore. State Senator Bill Nelson wants the idea nixed.

"We're not going to let them get those rigs close to our shore," Sen. Nelson has said.

Local researchers say the likelihood of even finding oil off Jacksonville's shores, is slim.

The government actually makes money, even if oil companies never drill. That's because the oil companies pay millions to lease an area for exploration. If oil is found, the government can then collect taxes on it.
Right now the president's proposal for off shore drilling is on hold because of the oil spill. He has also ordered no new leases be issued to oil companies.

US Sen. Bill Nelson has sent a letter to Governor Crist urging him to call a special legislative session to consider a constitutional ban on oil drilling in the waters immediately off Florida's coast. The governor has said he's not opposed to doing that.
Under the presidents plan, rigs could be as close as 3 miles from the shore.
Under the presidents plan, rigs could be as close as 3 miles from the shore.
"If we had oil here, we'd already be drilling, and have done it 30 years ago when there wasn't as much opposition to it," said Quinton White.

White is the executive director of the Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University. He says from all his research, the chances of finding oil are less than 10 percent.

"The geologic conditions off Jacksonville, I don't think they are condusive to having oil," White said.

Researcher Quinton White thinks conditions off Jacksonville's coast are not "condusive to having oil".
Researcher Quinton White thinks conditions off Jacksonville's coast are not "condusive to having oil".
He says there are too many risks and so much damage the rigs can cause.

"Drilling mud, debri, the pollution associated with drilling plus you have production problems once you start producing oil. Every place you transport the oil, you have the potential for a leak, that's what we're concerned about."

The cost to take that chance, could run into the billions of dollars. Action News found exploration alone can cost anywhere from a half million to a million dollars a day. Finding oil isn't a short term process. That's why, researchers are also trying new methods to see if oil even exists off the coast of Jacksonville. They're using NASA satellites to look for oil that bubbles up naturally from the sea floor. One thing everyone agrees, the only way you know oil is out there is if you drill.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

leroyjones - 5/24/2010 11:36 AM
0 Votes

gypsie - 5/24/2010 9:19 AM
2 Votes
We are responsible for killing our ocean.We are the ones that are greedy,selfish,lazy and unwilling to change our lifestyles to prevent off shore drilling to feed our desires for oil.I liken this to our leaders dragging us into two wars with no exit strategy.We drilled oil wells in the ocean without having tried and true fixes for mishaps.The oil will spread globally and get into our ground water,intercoastal waterways, and rivers.There are millions of gallons lying on the ocean floor,and huge plumes of the goo underwater already affecting deep water mammals and fish.The food birds eat,and plankton whales eat are being destroyed.This mess is as terrible as the nuclear waste from plants we have no idea how to dispose of,but has made some people rich.It's not the fault of Obama,it's our fault!Splinter groups like the Tea Party are doing nothing but further polarizing people by pointing fingers.Where are the solutions?We need solutions,not rhetoric,threats,political babble, and anger.We need scientific specialists,engineers,and the greatest minds we have globally to help us out of this horrible situation...if it's even possible.We need action,not prayer.I'm still not convinced this wasn't a terrorist attack.If it wasn't, it sure would be a great venue,just like nuclear plants are a great venue for attack.We keep opening ourselves up as a target.

mrcooking - 5/20/2010 10:48 PM
0 Votes
drill baby drill, we love that black gold.

sikuvit - 5/20/2010 12:26 AM
3 Votes
I said it months ago, when this first came up, and way before the Gulf spill--- Why would we want to endanger the whales (who give birth off our coast & need calm conditions), seabirds, fishes,the marshes---ANY marine life? Including the human life who depend on a pristine ocean for our serenity, tourism,AND So many kinds of business connected to the sea. Please----NO DRILLING!

HAPPYGATOR - 5/19/2010 11:40 PM
2 Votes

HAPPYGATOR - 5/19/2010 11:25 PM
1 Vote
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