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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 Florida’s coast to drilling. As Whitney Ray tells us, Governor Charlie Crist says he’s open to the idea.

There are hundreds of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Legislation has kept them 125 miles off Florida’s 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 I’m open to reviewing what those opportunities might be,” said Crist.

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

“Here in Florida they wouldn’t even be visible they wouldn’t 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 Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, isn’t convinced. Castille says 10 miles is too close.

“Three years ago we should have implement that law where we were going to protect Florida’s shores all around Florida for 125 miles and it’s unfortunate we didn’t,” 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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