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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sink 'stunned' by Crist's shift on drilling



Sinkoil_2 Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink Wednesday came out forcefully against Gov. Charlie Crist's support for studying drilling off the Florida coast. The only Democrat on the Cabinet, who has worked cooperatively with Crist, described becoming "angrier and angrier" as she listened to radio newscasts (which featured Crist's support for studying the need for offshore drilling to bring down gas prices, after years of firmly opposing any drilling).

"Floridians have to realize that this is not the answer, and I am stunned by this turn of opinion from people who have been very strong advocates against oil drilling off our coast," Sink said.  She cited the bi-partisan deal in Congress in 2005 that stipulated no drilling within 125 miles of the Florida coast in exchange for opening up 8-million acres of dormant drilling leases. "We've already compromised," Sink said.

"This proposal would do nothing to reduce the pain we're feeling today," said Sink, who estimated it would take 10 years for the first drop of oil to appear off Florida. The answer, she said, is conservation, not more oil.

Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer rose to Crist's defense, insisting that he did not endorse drilling, only "a re-evaluation of public policy." Crist endorsed John McCain's view that the Congressional moratorium on oil drilling off Florida should be lifted, and that states should decide on a case-by-case basis how to proceed.

"I'd rather have a leader who is seeking out solutions and getting information than one who does not have an open mind to solving the economic problems that citizens face," Greer said. "Governor Crist is focused on results."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:24am]


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