Drill, Baby, Drill

A new proposal could end Florida's ban on coastal drilling and open the floodgates to the new Big Oil

A bad economy can make you rethink it all.

You change your eating habits, your principles and even your religion.

For legislators looking to find cash for a growing budget, allowing drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast would be the equivalent of all three.

But Tuesday, the group is likely to start debate on a measure that would lift Florida's 30-year ban on offshore drilling, according to a report by the Miami Herald.

The proposal comes from Orlando Republican Dean Cannon, who undoubtedly has a poster of Sarah Palin in a bikini holding a shotgun and a clubbed baby seal on his wall at home.

Under his bill, the state could charge $1 million per application just to search for a place to drill in state waters. If companies decided they wanted to set up shop, they would have to post a $500 million bond with the state.

That's big cheese to find black gold, but environmentalist aren't buying the argument.

“Florida's beaches are our legacy and to put them at risk for a few million dollars makes no sense,'' Eric Draper, of the Florida Audubon Society, said. "One small oil spill could wipe out billions of dollars of economic activities. This is gambling with Florida's future.”

Cannon, who is tabbed to be the House speaker in 2010, said the measure does not mean drilling would be permitted, but that it allows the governor and his Cabinet to entertain offers.

State waters start about three miles off the coastline and extend 10 miles before the federal government takes jurisdiction. In 2006, the feds permitted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in exchange for keeping a protective barrier around Florida.

What a difference a bad economy can make.

Contact Us