Oil under the Eastern Gulf of Mexico is like a $10,000 savings bond, also given to us by our forebears. A nice sum which, if invested wisely, could provide useful, if modest, dividends, but really just chump change by comparison.
In the hands of this oil-drunken club kid it would be pissed away in an evening of revelry and forgotten before tomorrow's bloody mary's.
So, I say that as long as we are carrying on the hopeless oil binge, we should not be permitted to touch that precious and very limited local reserve. And by no means should we kid ourselves that it's enough to forestall the end of the party.
IF, and WHEN we have retooled our energy infrastructure to use renewable sources for everything they can be used for (electricity, most ground transportation, building power, etc.), AND we use fossil fuels for only those tasks which require them (flying, certain heavy industries, etc.) - in other words, when we could make that Gulf oil "go further" - THEN we should tap that sub-Gulf oil.
Furthermore, because it may be one of our last domestic reserves, we should save it for last. To burn it up now - when it will make the least difference - and not have it when we will need it most would be the pinnacle of prodigal irresponsibility.
But what about the tourists?!
In a country suffering the DT's of oil withdrawal, we will forget caring about Florida's tourism industry. In fact, that industry is currently so dependent on oil that it's not truly an either-or debate, anyway. Instead, it's a debate over when that oil gets drilled.
And for my money, the longer we hold on to that oil the better, and we even then we should drill it only if we've shown enough responsibility to handle it like grown-ups.