The Republican governor has endorsed a plan, part of a bill proposed by a California congressman that would allow, among other things, oil rigs 125 miles off the coast. In exchange, Bush said, the state would get other coastal protections.NIMBY. NIMBY. NIMBY.
But environmentalists and Republican and Democratic critics say what Bush advocates would actually allow for oil and gas exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico closer to Florida.
"The governor is seeking better protection, and lasting protection, for Florida's coasts," Bush spokeswoman Deena Reppen said in defending his stance.
She said the governor wanted a secure 125-mile ban on oil and gas drilling off the state's shoreline from Jacksonville on the Atlantic Ocean to Pensacola on the gulf.
The proposed legislation — and the pressure to support it — comes as fuel prices are at record highs and energy production in the gulf has been crippled by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler accused Bush, who cannot seek reelection when his second term expires next year, of performing a flip-flop that "abandons Florida's coast."
"For many years, the Florida congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats, has been unified in opposing drilling off the Florida coastline," Wexler said. He said that meant in the waters up to three miles from the coast that are under Florida's control, and in the adjacent belt, extending 200 miles from shore, where the federal government regulates drilling for oil and gas.
"Gov. Bush unfortunately has effectively undermined that unity," Wexler said. "Now it's all negotiable."
I guess tourists don't need fuel to get to Florida and that all the power plants producing electricity for the necessary air conditioning systems that allow life in Florida to be bearable run on coal, air or atoms. And the cruise ships operate on coal. And Disney World operates on biofuels.
Well, it's all negotiable.