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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Decision on special session on offshore oil drilling not governor's priority

After a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Pensacola Thursday, Gov. Charlie Crist repeated his interest in calling a special session to deal with oil drilling, but said a decision is not imminent.

"There is a possibility of a special session dealing with this issue,'' Crist told reporters in Pensacola after the briefing with federal officials. "No conclusion has been reached yet, but I think the first order of business is to do everything we can in the present. To do everything possible in order to protect our beaches, protect our fishing industry and protect our tourism. So that is what our focus now. We may have an opportunity later next week to address a possibility of a special session and the potential for a constitutional amendment."

Meanwhile, House Republicans released their response to the request from Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Democrats Thursday that Crist call the special session to put an amendment on the ballot banning oil drilling off the coast.

“Right now it’s important that we focus on the disaster at hand and not be distracted by those looking to score political points off what may be an environmental and economic blow to our state,'' said Rep. Seth McKeel, deputy House majority leader from Lakeland. "There will be plenty of time to address this issue when all the facts are in hand, but right now our focus must and should be on assisting the Floridians whose lives are going to be affected by this crisis.  

“Let’s not allow some partisan politicians and their pollsters looking to find a way to divide Floridians divert our attention from being united as a state in what we can do to prepare and appropriately deal with this crisis.”

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:34pm]

    

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