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Time to do some heavy lifting

By Staff | Apr 21, 2010

Dear colleagues and friends of Florida’s beaches, coastal economy and waters,

The Obama administration’s recent support of oil drilling in Federal waters represents new challenges and threats to Florida’s environment and tourist economy. However, a decision in the Florida House offers some near-term encouragement that there will be no oil and gas drilling legislation approved in the 2010 legislative session.

Just yesterday (April 16), Winter Park Representative Dean Cannon (R), Chair of the House Select Policy Council, made an important announcement re: offshore drilling in Florida waters. With less than two weeks left in this session, Cannon expressed, “It is not the right time to vote on this issue. This is a bicameral process and I haven’t seen any evidence that would suggest that our counterparts in the Senate have an appetite for this issue this year.”

The select committee began a review of the draft that, if passed, would have allowed drilling rigs in state waters within three miles of our shores. However, before we conclude our waters are safe, please note that Rep. Cannon has stated this draft will be the house’s starting position in the next legislative session in 2011. Should House Republicans retain their majority, it is expected that Cannon will be the House speaker next year.

Lee County, local municipal governments and responsible private organizations provided resolutions and contacted their opposing drilling. Important participants in the process included BPA, CEPD, CCP, COTI, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, SCCF, The League of Women Voters as well as many other local friends of the environment and the Florida economy. With this short-term achievement under our belts, the overriding concern still remains; our vigilance re: this important issue must remain and increase in intensity as well.

Captiva and Sanibel organizations and individuals who sat on the sidelines while others did the heavy lifting will wake up only with the encouragement of memberships. Have you written your local organization, legislators or newspapers lately?

Michael C. Mullins

Chairman, Captiva Erosion Prevention District