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Drilling Support Rises on Spill Anniversary

April 20th, 2011 by flanews

Just weeks after the worst oil disaster in US history, support for coastal drilling in Florida dropped to 40 percent. Today, one year after the beginning of the disaster, drilling support has climbed to 60 percent. As Whitney Ray tells us, the fear of four dollar a gallon gas has changed minds.

If gas were cheaper, Don Heath might be running his air conditioner. But to save money he’s changing his habits.

“I don’t just ride, you know. I go do what I have to do and stop my vehicle,” said Don.

Don Heath used to work on an oil platform. Today he’s owns his own taxi business. He says gas prices could be cheaper if drivers conserved more, and some offshore drilling bans were lifted.

“Any way that we can break the price will help,” said Don.

Don’s not alone. Poll numbers show 60 percent of Floridians support offshore drilling. But one year ago, the BP oil spill had people singing a different tune. At that time, just 40 percent supported drilling.

The spill changed Clara Hampton’s mind. She’s struggling to pay high gas prices, but says drilling is not the answer.

“I don’t believe in offshore drilling anymore; I just don’t trust it,” said Clara.

Governor Rick Scott isn’t looking to lift a state ban on drilling anytime soon. Make sure we take care of our beaches; we need to take care of our environment so we’re not going to be doing drilling here unless we can do it safely.

Leaders in both the House and the Senate have promised not to take up drilling legislation for at least this year and the next, but they’re not willing to put a ban in the state constitution.

They’re also not moving quickly to expand alternative forms of energy or issue rebates for people who put solar panels on their homes. A petition to put a drilling ban amendment on the 2012 ballot is being circulated by the Florida Wildlife Federation. If they can get enough signatures it will make the ballot, but as of right now, getting the 60 percent needed to pass the measure may be tough.

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill, Legislature, Oil Drilling, State News | No Comments »

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