TALLAHASSEE– On Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 12:30 at the Old Capitol a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats will call for the amending of the Florida Constitution to ban oil drilling in our state’s near-shore waters. Our state waters extend approximately three miles into the Atlantic Ocean and 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.
“As our economy depends so greatly upon tourism, and our beautiful beaches, we cannot risk the jobs of so many Floridians by allowing oil drilling right on our coastline, nor can we risk the despoiling of our environment,” said Preston Robertson of the Florida Wildlife Federation, a group participating in the event.
Present and past political leaders of Florida are expected at the press event, including CFO Alex Sink, Governor Charlie Crist, Senator Durrell Peaden, Representative Darren Soto, Representative Rick Kriseman and other state leaders who want to protect our jobs and our environment, regardless of political affiliation.
“We are all Floridians, no matter which party we happen to be in. We must ensure that what makes Florida so attractive to visitors and new Floridians is preserved and that our economy and environment are not placed in jeopardy” stated Rep. Soto.
Floridians will hopefully be allowed to vote on whether oil drilling will be allowed on the coast in one of two ways. Rep. Kriseman has proposed a Joint Resolution, HJR 383, co-sponsored by Rep. Soto, which, if approved by the Florida House and Senate, would place the issue before the voting public in 2012.
If that fails to pass, a statewide group of organizations, including Save Our Shores! Florida and the Surfrider Foundation, have also begun a citizens’ petition campaign to place the issue on the November, 2012 ballot. Save Our Shores! Florida has already begun sending out canvassers door-to-door across the state to collect petitions and build awareness of the issue.
“The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster devastated the economy of the Panhandle and it did not even reach Florida beaches in any great quantity. Imagine if that spill had been right on our coast.” said coalition chairman Manley K. Fuller.
The coalition website is www.sosbs.org, which has a downloadable petition that can be filled in, signed and mailed in. Only registered Florida voters may sign the petition.