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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Oil drilling proponents say Florida would get jobs and money, but questions abound



They appeared in the spring, a secretive group trying to upend Florida's longtime ban on offshore drilling by promising millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. The effort to allow drilling within 3 to 10 miles of the beaches failed to pass the Legislature, but only just.

Now emissaries from Florida Energy Associates LLC are touring the state to campaign for overturning the ban at the next legislative session. If Florida Energy Associates gets its wish, what will Florida get? According to company officials, residents will see:

• Drilling for oil, not gas, but in only limited areas along the Gulf Coast, including off Pasco and Hernando counties and up in the Panhandle. However, there could be no drilling off Pinellas County's beaches, in the Keys or anywhere along the Atlantic coast.

• Blue-collar crew jobs on the rigs, but nothing for supervisors, who will likely be imported from Louisiana. The rigs will also require supplies ferried in by boats, not helicopters.

•Construction work building underwater pipelines — the source of most offshore spills — to carry the oil to Louisiana. (story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:18pm]


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