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Florida drilling bill is rigged: Republicans pushing to allow drilling less than 10 miles offshore

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 02:49 PM
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Florida drilling bill is rigged: Republicans pushing to allow drilling less than 10 miles offshore
And this piece of $&*# will likely be added to a weakened renewable energy bill. How's that for insanity? This right wing extremist crowd is lacing the beaches with their last remaining land mines, ready to destroy what's left of Florida, because they have nothing left to lose.

Will Governor Crist see fit to veto this vipers' nest? Charlie, if you plan on running for Senate, you'd better get this one right.

Drilling bill is rigged

By Randy Schultz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

April 26, 2009

Tallahassee behaved last week the way Tallahassee can behave when a powerful special interest wants something. In other words, Tallahassee acted against the public interest.
First, no major bills are supposed to arrive unannounced during the next-to-last week of the legislative session. Among other things, there's almost no time for debate. That applies this year especially, given the budget talks.

But Monday night an e-mail went out from a Tallahassee public relations firm saying that the state "has begun a healthy new dialogue based on facts, not fear, regarding possible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the state's Gulf of Mexico waters." Tuesday afternoon, a follow-up release advertised a "conversation about taking a bold step to empower (the state's) economy through oil and gas exploration" that could mean rigs just 1 mile from the beach.
A conference call had been set up. A poll, concluding that Floridians would be OK with drilling, was ready. An economist had been hired to say that oil and gas "exploration" could bring Florida $1.6 billion a year from lease payments and royalties and create 19,000 jobs. Nearly two dozen lobbyists were at work.


Clearly, though, this "Drill, baby, drill" campaign had been orchestrated for weeks, with the idea of springing it at the last minute. Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, is in line to be House speaker in 2011 and 2012. He replaced an innocuous one-page bill (HB 1219) that would have created a plan for offshore drilling with a 19-page bill that would wipe out the state's ban on drilling within 10 miles of the coast.

Sen. (Bill) Nelson's action protected the area between 10 miles and 125 miles from the coast. He presumed that the state would never change the rules for its territorial waters, not with Florida's tourist industry so dependent on those beautiful Gulf beaches.
Tough times, though, create possibilities for all sorts of mischief in the name of economic development. Anyway, House leaders never shared Gov. Crist's enthusiasm for renewable energy. This week, the House could stick HB 1219 onto its lame renewable energy bill and send it to the Senate, whose bill sets a goal of 20 percent clean energy by 2020. To get even that modest goal into state law, the Senate might have to take the drilling bill. The Senate sponsor said he was open to the idea.

And what a bad idea it would be. Supporters breathlessly compare the financial potential to what Louisiana and Texas receive. But those states don't rely on beaches for tourism, as Florida does. More important, companies that discovered oil wouldn't want to ship it all the way across the Gulf. That would be too expensive. They would want refineries nearby. How many tourists would come to the Florida Gulf coast if it looked like Refinery Row around Port Arthur, Texas? Drilling might give; it also might take.

In an attempt to win support from environmental groups, the bill says that $300 million from drilling could go to the state's land-preservation program. No one could guarantee that.
Florida produces more farm waste suitable for energy production than any other state. Solar and wind possibilities are obvious, and Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, agrees that human activity causes global warming. Yet if this bill passes and Gov. Crist signs it, Dick Cheney might as well be making energy policy for this state.

If Florida got any serious money from drilling, it wouldn't come for years. The serious damage to Florida would be immediate. Tallahassee isn't just behaving badly. Tallahassee is ready to sell out the state.

It's not "Tallahassee" that's selling out the state, it's the stinking stay-behinds loyal to Jeb Bush.

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Stargleamer Donating Member (636 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 03:44 PM
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1. Is it greed? Is it insanity?
Probably a combo of both
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 10:46 PM
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2. Powerful gulf oil drilling lobby faces strong resistance in Florida
This final week in the Florida legislative session will live in infamy, as the Jeb Bush Republicans and their oil lobbyists gang-rape the state of Florida.

Powerful gulf oil drilling lobby faces strong resistance in Florida

By Lucy Morgan and Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
April 27, 2009

TALLAHASSEE Dangling the promise of millions for the state's dwindling budget, a group of mostly unidentified oil and gas companies is bankrolling a last-minute fight to bring offshore drilling to Florida's coastline.

Florida Energy Associates LLC, a corporation formed in December by Daytona Beach lawyer Doug Daniels, has hired at least 20 of the state's most prominent lobbyists to push bills through the Legislature in the final week of the session. Most of the lobbyists were hired in the past 10 days, but the proposal has been planned for months.
The measure, slated for votes in the House and Senate this week, would give the governor and Cabinet authority to approve oil and gas exploration 3 to 10 miles off the Florida coast.

The sudden appearance of the issue near the end of a troubled legislative session has sparked outrage from environmental groups and Democrats in both houses who question why it surfaced with little time for discussion and debate.
Gov. Charlie Crist initially said he was willing to look at the measure but has since questioned the way lawmakers have rushed the bill through.
"Whenever you do something like that, you want to make sure that it's well thought out, that it's done in a very deliberate manner and that people have an opportunity to review it in a reasonable way," Crist said Friday.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink have joined the fray, denouncing the proposal and saying they can't believe any Florida lawmaker would seriously consider letting oil drilling occur so close to the state's priceless beaches.


Associated Industries of Florida, the state's most prominent business lobbying group, is leading the fight for the bill, but no one will identify all of those who are paying for an expensive lobbying and public relations campaign that now includes television and newspaper advertising.
Phillips of Mexia, Texas, and Dallas lawyer William Lewis Sessions appeared before a House committee considering the issue last week. Phillips owns Oil and Gas Acquisitions, an independent oil and gas exploration company, and is the chairman of the Limestone County Republican Party. Sessions, the son of former FBI Director William Sessions and brother of Texas congressman Pete Sessions, represents oil company clients, as well as the Cherokee Indians of Texas.

Daniels, the Daytona Beach lawyer who formed the corporation, says others helping finance the campaign "prefer not to have the notoriety."


Lobbyists hired to fight for the bill include the team at Southern Strategy Group, which includes former House Speaker John Thrasher; Holland & Knight lobbyist Martha Barnett; former Secretary of State Jim Smith; and Wade Hopping.
Although all lobbyists will have to disclose the fees they are earning in quarterly reports, only one of them would answer questions about fees for the oil drilling bill. Smith said he had been asked to help and signed a yearlong contract for $10,000 a month.

I absolutely F'ing HATE THESE PEOPLE.

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