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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Florida House Poised to Approve Drilling

A bill requiring the governor and Cabinet to accept $1 million application fees from bidders interested in exploring state-controlled waters that stretch to 10 miles offshore is poised for approval in the House.  Funds generated from resulting leases would be distributed to Florida Forever (up to $300 million for land acquisition and up to $15 million for land management per year), up to $20 million for beach nourishment and up to $20 million for distribution to coastal cities and counties where the leases occur. The bill does not address the requisite pipelines or other onshore infrastructure that will be necessary to transport the gas or oil from the drilling equipment to the refining or other shore based related facilities other than to require the state to provide a lessee an easement over any sovereign submerged lands.

According to the St. Pete Times, Senator Bill Nelson’s office has released this map of existing drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico: “You’ll readily see Florida’s future – for inside the green line is where the Florida House bill proposes to put rigs, not to mention expedited permitting for stuff, like, refineries,” said Dan McLaughlin.

Meanwhile, the St. Pete Times also reports that Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink weighed in on the measure, saying she strongly opposes it because it “would threaten Florida’s economy by bringing oil rigs 3 miles off our coast, sanctioning drilling in the shallow waters of the Gulf, and allowing unlimited pipelines to go through sensitive areas up to our beaches.”  She also blasted the late-session emergence of the bill which, has been worked on for weeks behind the scenes but emerged at the late meeting of the late committee of the House this week.

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Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , ,

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