On Sunday Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told The Associated Press that if she became President, she would approve drilling for oil and natural gas in the Everglades, a vast wildlife and wilderness refuge in Florida.
“The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness,” Bachmann said. “Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that’s in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is. Of course it needs to be done responsibly. If we can’t responsibly access energy in the Everglades then we shouldn’t do it.”
The Everglades supports many species of animal life and plant life including the American Alligator and Mangrove Trees. An oil spill in the Everglades would be a serious disaster. Much of the water that flows through the wetland empties into Florida Bay where endangered sea turtles and manatees feed on turtle grass. Therefore, any spill would poison the water and food supplies of these creatures, putting them even more at risk. Humans are also at risk from an oil spill in the Everglades. The Floridan Aquifer and Biscayne Aquifer serve as fresh water sources for northern and southern Florida and would also be threatened by an oil spill or fracking associated with drilling for natural gas.
The very idea of drilling in the Everglades is irresponsible. Even the most responsible drilling operation would be threatened by wildfires, which are a part of life in the Everglades. Then there are tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, and even the threat of tsunamis that could cause disastrous spills that would devastate this wonder of nature that has been classified as one of only three of the most important wetlands on the globe by UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention. If Michele Bachmann really believes that “we need to go where the energy is” she should stand behind efforts to move away from oil and natural gas and should promote wind, solar, and other cleaner, safer, infinite forms of energy. That is where the future of energy is.