Friday, April 24, 2009

Florida Oil Mystery

We've been traveling, and so didn't get a chance to see Wednesday's PNJ editorial opposing the Republican effort in Tallahasee to throw open Florida's beaches to off-shore oil drilling as close as three miles from shore. The PNJ writes it short and bitter. We can make it a bit shorter:

Conscientious state leaders have long opposed offshore drilling not just for
environmental motivations but for economic reasons. They recognize what clean
beaches mean to the state's economy.
* * *
Even as the demand for energy increased, the goal in anti-drilling efforts has been to keep rigs in the Gulf of Mexico at least 100 miles off the coast of Florida, from the Panhandle to the Keys.

There is no reason to reverse the state's long-held opposition to offshore drilling.

Gov. Crist should take a stand and veto any measure that threatens Florida's coastlines.

It is beyond comprehension why the Republican majority in the Florida statehouse planted this roadside political bomb along the road to adjournment in the waning days of the legislative session. Are they trying to commit political suicide? Do they seriously expect Florida voters to thank them for a sneak attack on Florida's 2,200-plus miles of tidal shoreline?

How can Republicans explain, next year when running for reelection, an eleventh-hour proposal so manifestly engineered to discourage and evade public debate and deliberation? Can they seriously believe, here in Florida of all places, that we don't know the magnitude of the threat that would be posed by tropical storms if oil drills and pipelines were allowed so close to our beaches? Are they blind to the fact that this proposal is the biggest anti-small business bill in state history?

The drilling proposal, thankfully, is unlikely to pass the state senate. Even if it did so, Governor Crist almost surely would veto it, unless he plans to run for president in 2012 as the Candidate of Big Oil.

So, why the kari-kari act by Florida House Republicans? There'$ only one an$wer we can think of, and it i$n't pretty.

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