Dean Cannon likes Obama oil plan but wants it on Florida's terms
Incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon told the Times/Herald today that he was encouraged by President Obama's announcement that he supports opening Florida's eastern gulf coast to offshore oil drilling but emphasized that it's up to the state to put pressure on the feds "to do right."
Cannon, who has shepherded a legislative effort to to open Florida's near shore to oil and gas exploration and drilling, wants to pass another resolution to Congress urging them to lift the ban and emphasize that Florida "wants to be at the table so we make sure Florida's interests are protected.''
He said the House bill, which has yet to emerge, will require that drilling rigs not be visible from the beach, that the military have the ability to override any drilling request and that the highest environmental standards be required.
"To me it’s very important that we do communicate that we do want our fair share of revenues that may be derived from drilling in federal waters off our coast,'' he said. "One way to do that is set high standards and technological standards in near shore waters that could put pressure on the feds to make sure they do it right."
Cannon said the House will pass a bill this year but admits that it's an uphill fight to get it through the Senate, where Senate President Jeff Atwater has indicated he opposes it. Passage of legislation this year is "helpful but not essential."