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API Announces New “Explore Offshore” Coalition In Florida Supporting Expanded Access To Eastern Gulf of Mexico’s Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Resources; Part of Larger Effort Backing Expanded Access


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Former Puerto Rico State Senator Dr. Miriam Ramirez & Former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp to serve as State Co-Chairs; Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson and Former Secretary of the Navy and Virginia Senator Jim Webb Serving as bipartisan National Co-Chairs .

Oil and Natural Gas Industry Could Create Over 56,000 New High-Paying Jobs in Florida; Offshore Development Could Result in $2.6 Billion in Private Investment; $1 Billion a Year in State Revenues.

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2018 – API today announced the launch of “Explore Offshore”, a new coalition of more than 100 community organizations, associations, businesses and local leaders in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida who support increased access to offshore U.S. oil and natural gas resources. The Florida effort will be led by Dr. Miriam Ramirez, Former Puerto Rico State Senator, Jeff Kottkamp, Former Lieutenant Governor of Florida, and Wayne Harris, former Okaloosa County Commissioner. Jim Nicholson, who served as Secretary of Veterans Affairs during the George W. Bush Administration, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will serve as bipartisan national co-chairs of the coalition.

Dr. Miriam Ramirez, Former Puerto Rico State Senator, Explore Offshore Florida Co-Chairman: “As a native Puerto Rican and a volunteer to rebuild Puerto Rico from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, I know firsthand that we should not take for granted access to reliable energy. The Department of the Interior took a step in the right direction by proposing to open up additional areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to new exploration for oil and natural gas. Our neighbors in the Gulf of Mexico support thriving tourism industries all while developing offshore energy resources that create high-paying jobs to those states, provide much needed state revenue and economic investment, and deliver greater energy security to America.”

Jeff Kottkamp, Former Florida Lieutenant Governor, Explore Offshore Florida Co-Chairman: "With over 20 million residents and 110 million annual visitors---the availability of affordable energy is critical to our quality of life in Florida.  Access to new sources of domestic oil and natural gas is important to maintain or quality of life in the Sunshine State.  As we consider exploration for new energy sources we must also be mindful Florida's environment.  We look forward to working with our local leaders to discuss ways to maintain our state's natural beauty while at the same time expanding opportunities to keep our nation energy independent." 

Wayne Harris, Former Okaloosa County Commissioner, Explore Florida Offshore Co-Chairman: “I’ve had the great honor of serving our country in the military for 27 years, and serving my county as a Commissioner. My focus is on ensuring that future generations get to enjoy the same opportunities that I have, in a nation that is safe and secure. A key to making that possible is putting in place energy policies that support the constant, reliable and affordable supply of energy our families and businesses will always need to grow and thrive. The more of that energy that comes from our own borders the better. It’s time we used recent advances in technology and science to find out exactly what energy resources lay in our waters, and how we can produce that energy in a responsible manner in the years ahead. That’s how we will make Florida and America more energy secure.”

Florida Petroleum Council Director David Mica: “As we plan for our future in Florida, we should keep all options on the table as it relates to accessing domestic oil and natural gas resources and Explore Offshore will be a united voice of Floridians working to do just that.”

The importance of oil and natural gas to Florida:

  • Oil and natural gas will continue to make up over 60 percent of America’s electricity use for at least the next thirty years according to federal government projections, even with the use of renewables on the rise.
  • 67 percent of net electricity generation in Florida in 2017 came from natural gas.
  • By 2035, the oil and natural gas industry could create over 56,000 new high-paying jobs in Florida.
  • Offshore development could result in $2.6 billion in private investment into Florida and $1 billion per year in state revenues.
  • The average salary for oil and natural gas exploration and development jobs is $116,000, including for positions that do not all require a four-year degree.

Explore Offshore is a bipartisan coalition dedicated to safe and environmentally responsible

access to our offshore energy resources to help supply affordable and reliable energy for American consumers, small businesses, and manufacturers. This broad coalition of community organizations, businesses, and local associations across the Southeast has come together to voice support for reliable, safe, and affordable energy.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, as well as service and supply firms. API member companies provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 45 million Americans.

For the national press release click here.

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