Updated 11 months ago
Andy Corty, Publisher
The recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has caused all of us to take a hard look at offshore oil drilling — both its economic benefits and the inherent danger. As I write this column in early May, we are on high alert to see whether the oil leak at the BP rig Deepwater Horizon can be plugged while we simultaneously quantify the threat to the Florida shoreline, which provides such abundant blessings to all Floridians.
In that context, it was especially timely to hear from Rod Petrey, president of the Collins Center for Public Policy, which has just published a balanced, thoughtful 32-page white paper on the impact of oil and gas exploration in the Gulf. Produced on behalf of the Century Commission, this highly readable and clearly illustrated report provides non-partisan answers to the key questions any intelligent citizen would ask about offshore oil drilling.
For example, question #11 asks: “What do we know about the potential government revenue and employment benefits for Floridians that could result from drilling in Florida state waters?” And then question #16 seems particularly pertinent: “What do we know about oil in marine waters? What is the experience with oil spills?”
Since 1988, the Collins Center has sought to find impartial solutions to controversial questions like these through a combination of research and action. In fact, the center calls itself “a think tank with muddy boots,” taking on topics such as insurance, education, foreclosures and election procedures. Its small staff is spread around the state in Miami, Tallahassee, Sarasota and St. Petersburg.
You can download the center’s report at collinscenter.org. And if you applaud this evenhanded approach, I’m sure the center would appreciate your support and that of businesses from around the state.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Florida Trend works with the Collins Center on a special section each fall about sustainability. Headed by Tim Center, its Sustainable Florida initiative encourages business and civic leaders to strike a balance between environmental impact and business realities, such as the need for companies to make a profit. Companies that believe in this balance are invited to advertise in the special section, which is distributed to all Florida Trend readers and then overprinted as a handout throughout the year.
Senior writer Cynthia Barnett has fewer bylines in Florida Trend these days for the best of all reasons — she has started a leave of absence to write her second book, tentatively titled “Blue Is the New Green,” about America’s water resources. This book and its national focus is a natural step for Cynthia following the success of her first book, “Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern United States,” which was based in part on her years of reporting on environmental issues for this magazine.
When she returns in the fall, Trend will regain not just a great writer but also a national award winner. We just received word that Cynthia has won the Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in journalism. The recognition comes for her July 2009 article “Watchdogs on a Leash” about state inspectors general who are forced out of office by exactly the same people they’re supposed to keep an eye on.
New Year’s Resolution Update: I lost my focus in April and only worked out six times, but the “no bread, no fries, no dessert” eating plan (let’s not call it a “diet”) was a snap and helped me shed eight pounds in just one month. Healthy eating and moderate exercise seems to be the right prescription as any doctor would tell you. But will it continue?
— Andy Corty