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Oil Fight Rages

July 28th, 2009 by flanews

Legislation allowing oil drilling 45 miles off the coast of Florida is making waves in congress. The plan is just the latest in a series of efforts to open up Floridas coast to drilling. As Whitney Ray tells us, Governor Charlie Crist says hes open to the idea.

There are hundreds of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Legislation has kept them 125 miles off Floridas coast, but Congress will review a plan to allowing drilling just 10 miles out. Governor Charlie Crist says the legislation is worth discussing.

I think there is an opportunity to find a middle ground that is appropriate; that is safe and clean and done right so Im open to reviewing what those opportunities might be, said Crist.

Drilling off Floridas coast could create thousands of jobs but environmentalists say an oil spill could ruin the states tourism industry. Business groups in Florida say drilling and tourism can coexist.

Here in Florida they wouldnt even be visible they wouldnt have to be that close to access these recourses, said Jose Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Associated Industries of Florida.

Colleen Castille, the former secretary of Floridas Department of Environmental Protection, isnt convinced. Castille says 10 miles is too close.

Three years ago we should have implement that law where we were going to protect Floridas shores all around Florida for 125 miles and its unfortunate we didnt, said Castille.

But gas was cheap back then. Any spike in the price of a gallon now will rally support for drilling and put pressure on Congress. The legislation would allow coastal states to receive 37 percent of the rent and royalties energy companies pay to lease the federal land.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Gas Prices, Oil Drilling, State News | No Comments »

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