Senators: Slow down drilling initiative

Oct 7, 2009

Brandon Larrabee

The Florida Times-Union


TALLAHASSEE -- A pair of state senators is calling for the Legislature to slow down a push for offshore oil drilling and instead allow a commission of environmental and business leaders to take a closer look.

Sens. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, and Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, announced Wednesday that they would file a measure creating the Florida Energy Independence and Coastal Protection Task Force once it's clear whether the Legislature will consider the issue in a special session this year or in the regular session next year.

"Right now, there is a rush to drill, baby, drill," Aronberg said at a press conference announcing the measure, "and we think that needs to slow down."

The task force would be required to issue a report by Dec. 15, 2010.

Aronberg and Deutch said their task force would be empowered to consider more issues than the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, another legislatively-created body examining the issue.

Aronberg is a candidate for attorney general. Sen. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat who would face him in the primary, quickly put out his own statement blasting offshore oil drilling.

"At the precise moment when we could offer up quick fixes and do little and risk much, like drilling off the coast, we should be offering long term policies that will right our state's course for the long term," Gelber said. "Rushing into another quick fix like oil drilling would be a terrible mistake."

Gelber, you might recall, called yesterday for Attorney General Bill McCollum, himself a candidate for governor, to sue the Legislature and the Governor's Office for failing to adequately fund education.

All of these new intiatives are simply in the interest of good public policy, of course.





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