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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

U.S. senator wants oil drilling much closer to Florida shore



Byron Dorgan Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he is undeterred by President Obama's call for oil drilling 125 miles off Florida's west coast and will continue to pursue a 45 mile buffer.

"I would still push for that because it's the right thing," said Dorgan, chairman of the appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

"The estimates are that the 125-mile (buffer) would get about two-thirds of the energy that is there," he added. "Those are estimates based on 30-year-old studies. I think a more appropriate one is 45 miles but you know, I commend the president for moving as he's moved and I would hope that we have an opportunity to consider even more ... A 45-mile zone is a better approach because you get more energy out of that and you still have the proper safeguards for a visual line of sight and so on."

Sen. John Kerry, who is leading the drafting of a sweeping energy bill, would not discuss details on oil drilling today. "We have people pushing for everything," he said.

Dorgan's proposal sets up a clash with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who is ok with the 125 mile buffer but has pledged to fight anything closer.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:28am]


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