Seven years and one day ago today, many of us were naïve to the extent of environmental and economic harm caused by oil production. The next day on April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded sending an estimated 3.19 million barrels of leaked oil from the damaged Macondo wellhead located approximately 5,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface into the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion not only led to the loss of 11 lives that day, but for the next 87 days the wellhead continued to spew toxic oil into the Gulf, becoming one of the largest oil spills in history.
Approximately 150 miles away from the spill sits Florida’s most western coast. Surely no one expected to be directly impacted by an accident over 100 miles away, yet soon that stark reality would set in. Within days of the spill Florida’s coastal communities felt its immediate effects with millions of dollars in lost revenue from potential tourists who had now rescheduled their vacation plans. Seven years later, the effects of this incident are still being felt in many areas of the Gulf by businesses who failed to recover and marine life still struggling to reproduce.
It is also no surprise that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was the catalyst for the founding of ReThink Energy Florida. “The time to rethink our energy sources and need is now. Every day that we spend focusing on an old energy paradigm and fossil fuels, rather than the 21st century paradigm of renewable energy and energy efficiency, is a day that we are choosing higher gas prices, risk to our beautiful natural resources, and debt to our children’s future. Florida is the sunshine state, yet most states are ahead of us in terms of promoting the use of renewable energy. I encourage Floridians to remember the Deepwater Horizon Incident with an eye toward our future, knowing that the spill will impact us for years to come, as will our choices today,” says Kim Ross, ReThink Energy Florida Co-Founder and President.
There is no question dirty energy is only an ideal investment to the corporations who have such large profits that a $20 billion fine is of no concern to them. Meanwhile, numerous local communities and small businesses do not have the resources available to recuperate from these incidents, and are left to fend for themselves.
Imagine if an environmental catastrophe of that caliber occurred right behind your backyard? That is the threat fracking proposes to our ecosystems. According to Brian Lee, ReThink Energy Florida Co-Founder and Director of Development, “As we work towards banning fracking in the Florida legislature, we must remember the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And it is only now, seven years later, that Florida's legislature is close to finished dealing with the settlement disbursements from BP. We founded ReThink Energy Florida in the wake of that oil spill to make sure that we educated and engaged citizens to speak out against extreme extraction methods and in favor of transitioning towards a clean energy future for Floridians. We hope Florida's legislature will listen to the people of Florida, and ban fracking, so that we don't ever have a disaster from extreme extraction methods in Florida again.”