As shown in my last post (here), an oil spill close to the Florida coast could spread it over a considerable portion of the coast. Florida is obviously reliant on these beaches and water for beach recreation, recreational fishing, real estate, etc. Do the gains outweigh the risks? For a little historical perspective, the St Petersburg Times had a 2005 article discussing the impact of Hurricanes on drilling rigs.
As Arlene loomed, crew members evacuated the offshore oil and gas rigs that dot the waters off Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. After the storm passed, the crew of one Amerada Hess-owned rig returned to their platform 60 miles south of New Orleans and discovered the rig had spilled more than 550 gallons of oil.
That is a small spill - the equivalent of 45 barrels - but because the crew wasn't there to stop it, the oil flowed into the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. Within a month, 700 birds died, nearly all of them endangered brown pelicans.
In this situation, there was a small spill which inevitably killed 700 birds. Imagine a larger spill being dispersed over a large portion of Florida's Gulf Coast via existing currents off Florida. So I wonder, are we going into the supermarket hungry? Just a little food for thought.