Can We Love Oil and Be Green at the Same Time? Yes Say Republicans

  • Published on June 26th, 2008

Last week, Red Green and Blue assessed the green credentials of John McCain’s potential presidential running mate, Charlie Crist. As the Florida Governor signs a landmark multi-billion dollar deal to preserve the Everglades, we ask again, is it possible to love big oil and be green at the same time?

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Charlie Crist won a lot of friends in the oil industry by suggesting that he could live with oil-wells off the coast of Florida. In the same week he also gained support from environmentalists for brokering an agreement that will reclaim 300 square miles of the Everglades from sugar farming.

So why should we care? Well it just so happens that Crist is the Governor of a crucial swing-state in the upcoming presidential election, as well as being a contender for the Republican Vice-Presidential slot.

Since taking office last year he has installed solar panels on the roof of the Governor’s mansion, and gained quite a reputation for his environmentally friendly policies, which include pushing state regulators to prioritise renewable energy and conservation projects over the approval of new coal-fired power stations.

Then came the announcement, this Tuesday, of his move to restore the Everglades wetlands by signing a $1.75 billion deal to purchase 300 square miles of land currently being used for sugar production by U.S. Sugar. The agreement effectively shuts down America’s largest sugar producer, while preserving one of the state’s most fragile ecosystems.

Just when he was almost in danger of changing the image of the Republican’s as the party of big business, Crist has made positive noises about the prospect of drilling for oil off the Florida coast. Environmental campaigners say the move could drastically alter the politics of oil exploration by putting a 27 year-old congressional moratorium on drilling in federal waters in “grave danger.”

Responding to critics pointing out that such a deal would accelerate climate change, Crist said, “We’re in an energy crisis now. You have to look at trying to help the American family, and try to get more domestic production in a responsible, safe, clean way, but at the same time realize that the long-term goal is alternative fuels, renewables.”

Is there a really a ‘middle way’ between oil exploration and alternative energy, one that enables politicians to walk the tightrope between economic and environmental concerns? Or is it time that our leaders got off the fence and sent out a stronger unequivocal message in favour of oil or renewable energy?

Related Posts About Energy Politics and Setting the Environmental Agenda:

Image credit – Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post Via The Associated Press

About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.


  • Book recommedation for those interested in the oil industry: "The Prize," by Daniel Yergin. I'm reading it now and its a good history. Dry at times, but good knowledge to have.

  • All of these drilling plans for ANWR and offshore Florida fail to note that the minimum time for there to be any usable oil coming from these projects (assuming there is the oil down there that they hope there is) is 10 years. 10 years! if we have not made significant progress towards a less oil dependent culture by then, a few oil wells are not going to save us.

    Also several studies on ANWR have estimated that there is 6 months worth of oil (at our current usage rates) there. 10 years wait, then 6 months of cheap oil, and then what?

  • If you think the US Government is going to solve the oil problem then think again. The rogue element in our government are traitors and need to be executed for their crimes. A major part of our congressmen do not pay any attention to the constitution except it be what they want. One of the biggest breaches of the constitution they are committing is their refusal to regulate the value of money. They have left it up to the illegal Federal Reserve System and their illegal arm the collection agency called the IRS. Since December of 1913 we the people have been are being

    robbed by this illegal system. Nearly a hundred years. I don't know what their plans are for the oil, but you can bet it won't be for the good of the people. They are employed by the oil companies and their bribes, believe it.

    As for energy, the government is complicit in preventing the development of free energy. It already is here, the people need to wake up and get behind it.

    This free energy that I am talking about is able to be taped by the use of the electro-magnetic energy of the earth and the sun. It's there, it's free and systems are designed that work and the government and their methods are preventing it from being developed.

  • Offshore drilling is a reeeaaaallly bad solution to the energy crisis, and I'm surprised that anyone can think it would be good for their polling numbers at the moment. If you want to get energy from your coast, it would be far better to invest in offshore wind, ocean current turbines, wave power, or even tidal power. Read more about each of these solutions in detail:

  • Although I agree that the government will not solve the problem, and that we cannot simply stop using oil and wait for an alternative, it's crazy to say that the "environment is cleaner now than ever." 'Ever' is a very very long time and I'm sure it was cleaner before we (humans) got here and started burning things.

  • Uh, last time I checked everyone in this country "loves" oil. Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, terrorists, everybody. We all use it and are hopelessly addicted to it. Why then is there the effort to make it a partisan issue. Try and live one day without oil. See what happens.

  • Since the 1950's we have been massively increasing our use of oil and, gadzooks! — the environment is cleaner now than ever. Even the Europeans are drilling off their coast. There is no doubt that is it possible to both drill for oil and have a clean environment. The worse thing we can do is to throw the economy completely in the tank by delusional thinking that stopping production will suddenly make alternatives appear. Even worse, if you think the government will solve the problem, you're wrong.

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