The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

What They’re Saying About U.S. Offshore Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 27, 2018

Public hearings in a number of coastal states on a new federal offshore energy leasing program are generating lots of comments – including those from a number of people in those states who support safe, responsible offshore oil and natural gas development. A sampling:


Curtis “CS” Bennett, U.S. Navy veteran and member of Vets4Energy Florida:

“As a nation, we are stronger and safer when we have our own reliable source of domestic energy supply. I firmly trust in scientists’ and engineers’ ability to successfully and safely produce oil and natural gas offshore while protecting military operations and our environment, and I support Florida’s participation in the Outer Continental Shelf expansion.”

Julio FuentesFlorida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO:

“Florida is the third-largest gasoline consumer in the nation, and therefore should use a balanced energy approach to meet the needs of consumers while maximizing government revenue and jobs. As long as it can be done safely, I support any potential opportunities for energy discovery to ensure a strong and healthy energy future for Florida.”

Kevin Doyle, Consumer Energy Alliance executive director:

“With innovation, technology and human ingenuity, we are confident we can reach a balance, resulting in a win for national security, our tourism industry, our environment and the millions of families and small businesses in Florida that depend on reliable affordable energy.”

David Mica, Florida Petroleum Council:

“Developing affordable and reliable U.S. energy also supports many industries across our state, such as tourism, restaurants, and commercial fishing operations. It creates opportunities for high-paying jobs, investment, and revenue for public education and modernizing our infrastructure.”


Carl R. Smith, retired oil rig captain, who lives in Chesapeake:

Offshore drilling is a “clean and mature industry” that will bring “huge revenues” to Virginia. “You got a lot of people looking over your shoulder. It's a safe business. We should do it.”

Miles Morin, Virginia Petroleum Council:

“Safely producing our offshore energy resources also strengthens our national security and makes the U.S. more energy secure. Virginians could also see increased revenue to invest in priorities like public education and infrastructure, and more well-paying jobs means more money being spent at shops, restaurants and businesses around the state. Higher paying jobs and investments in the state can also go hand-in-hand with offshore energy production – a benefit that should be welcomed by our communities.”

Justin Williams, National Ocean Industries Association:

“Virginia can benefit from both military training and oil and gas activity. Domestic oil and gas development and ending our dependence on foreign energy are a national security concern, diversifying our supply geographically will make America safer and more secure in the long run.”

South Carolina

Janet Spencer, North Myrtle Beach:

“I am in favor of offshore drilling as long as it is environmentally safe. The coast down where we are primarily depends on tourism for our livelihood. I would like to see, as a result of this, more jobs brought into Horry County. I want to see something other than cooks, waiters, hotel staff, something that’s year-long and not just a seasonal job for folks.”

Stephen Gilchrist, South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce president:

“Developing offshore natural gas and oil could be a significant economic boost for many communities in our state who struggle with high unemployment. This is an opportunity to diversify our economy in coastal regions while stimulating new business opportunities within African American communities. We support the Administration moving ahead with the modern seismic testing as the next, safe a responsible step in the process.”

U.S. Army Capt. (ret.) James McCormick, Vets4Energy program director:

“Responsibly developing energy resources off the Atlantic will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and strengthen America’s role as a global energy superpower while creating good jobs here at home. Some who are calling on South Carolina to oppose offshore energy development need to move past the fear mongering and half-truths. Domestic energy security is vitally important, and now is not the time to walk away from the table without knowing exactly what is out there.”

Don Weaver, South Carolina Association of Taxpayers president:

“The potential to generate substantial new state revenues for vital infrastructure needs without raising taxes is a viable option that we should explore. Recent studies and industry data show that South Carolina could realize $3.7 Billion in new revenue with the pro-growth energy plan the President is pursuing. We need to expand our economy and not raise more taxes.”

Mark Harmon, South Carolina Petroleum Council:

“It’s been 30 years since we last examined the Outer Continental Shelf in the Atlantic, and modern advances in seismic technology will allow us to more accurately determine what energy resources are available for our nation’s future. Opening the Atlantic to safe and responsible offshore exploration and production could help strengthen national security, fix our schools and infrastructure with additional revenue coming to the state, and create thousands of new, high-paying jobs.”

As we’ve said, a fact-based conversation about America’s offshore strategy is critically important as policymakers make decisions that affect all Americans. Underscore the words “fact-based conversation.” While there’s passion associated with this issue, emotion can get in the way of sound policy – which is what we need for America’s energy and national security.

Our vast offshore oil and natural gas potential has strategic, long-term importance and should be addressed accordingly with all voices, not just the loudest ones, heard.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.