On Outer Continental Shelf exploration:
Floridians value our beaches, but our economy is driven by our natural resources, so it’s why drilling has been problematic. You can see a rig 35 miles from shore, we don’t want any problems. Since elected, I’ve always been against drilling in the Gulf, but now given the state of the Middle East and Venezuela, we can’t be dependent on that. There are real issues here.
This is a finite resources. Our goal is first and foremost to protect the Gulf and the military mission line. Can’t be rigs there. My bill called for a 125-mile buffer of protection around the rest of the state. And my bill said the Florida legislature would determine this. We want to be in charge of our coastline. My bill has been incorporated into the Bilirakis bill. The Military line — 240 miles due east of Tampa is in the Manager’s amendment.
There needs to be a balance. Will vote for the Manager’s amendment, will vote for the Bilirakis amendment. I think there will be a bill that comes back from Conference that’s stronger and I’ll support it.
Florida only has 5% of the vote in the Congress. We ought not let Congress decide this. I want Floridians to be in charge of our destiny, our coast.
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