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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Offshore drilling provision has Sen. Bill Nelson opposing climate bill

Sen. Bill Nelson has sent a letter to President Barack Obama and the sponsors of the climate and energy bill saying a provision allowing offshore drilling is unacceptable.

Dear Mr. President:

I have reviewed the American Power Act climate bill which reflects your administration’s position on oil exploration. I regretfully must oppose this bill - if it includes the following:

The bill could allow drilling in federal waters close to states’ coastlines, including along the Atlantic seaboard. It would be up to states, like Florida, whether to establish a 75-mile no-drill zone. As a result, the bill could cede to the Florida Legislature decisions about commercial and other activities where we have a unique U.S. military installation and national missile testing range.

Such is unthinkable. 

For one thing, we must not consider drilling in a missile testing range. For another, we must not give the Florida Legislature a veto over military and intelligence activities in the testing range and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

This site was selected as a U.S. missile testing range after World War II. Over the past six decades, it’s been used by the Department of Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Other military facilities at nearby Port Canaveral support U.S. Navy ballistic missile ship and submarine operations. 

I would be happy to discuss this issue with you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely

Bill Nelson

Nelson said he provided the same concern to Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, who wrote the climate bill and released the language yesterday.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:37am]

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