Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Galvano backs drilling measure

The debate over oil and gas drilling in the waters off of Florida hit close to home Tuesday, when the House Policy Council approved in a party-line, 17-6 vote a bill that would open state waters - that is, those 3 to 10 miles from shore to exploration. (You can read the measure here.)

Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, the only member of the Manatee delegation on the Policy Council, voted for the measure.

The Herald's Tallahassee Bureau reported:

The council approved an amendment by Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Orlando, that would lift Florida’s ban on oil drilling in state waters and replace it with a plan to allow the governor and Florida Cabinet to seek bidders for exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico between three and 10 miles offshore.

New revenues would come from a $1 million non-refundable application fee for every bidder and, according to an industry-hired economist, from as much as $1.6 billion in royalties and taxes if the wells produce oil.

“We’re giving the governor and Cabinet that chance to have that dialogue with no obligation whatsoever,” Cannon said. “But we are taking away the shackles that currently prohibit Florida from not only pursuing energy independence but economic development and security and environmental protection.”

There currently is no companion measure on the Senate side, where at least one Republican, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, is opposed to offshore drilling. Bennett's concerns, however are not related to possible environmental hazards.

Bennett said he doesn't like the idea of making the country more reliant on fossil fuels

"The more holes we punch in the Earth, the longer we are putting off doing the right thing, which is investing in renewable energy," Bennett told the Bradenton Herald on Tuesday.

Read more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment