Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Mazen Labban

Second Committee Member

Jan Nijman

Third Committee Member

Anna Zalik


Amid growing concern over access to sufficient and cheap energy resources, on March 31, 2010 the Obama Administration announced the opening of new exploratory and drilling sites for oil within the United States Outer Continental Shelf. The announcement concerning the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Strategy came only three weeks before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that marked an unprecedented economic and environmental disaster. Though the concern over offshore drilling, especially regarding regulation and environmental impact, has increased in the wake of the oil disaster, the general debate regarding offshore oil drilling has been a concern of environmental activists and domestic energy policy for decades. This thesis examines the development of environmental activism and energy security discourses concerning offshore oil policy in the state of Florida. It places offshore oil drilling at the intersection of discourses of energy security and environmental security by looking at the construction of ocean space as both an informant and product of the discursive constructions of energy security and environmental security. The study aims to provide a deeper understanding of how ocean spaces are incorporated into the economic, national, environmental and social imaginations of Americans, particularly Floridians, and how these imaginations, in turn, dictate offshore oil drilling policy.


Offshore Oil; Policy; Environment; Ocean; Energy; Security