Florida Left Out of Drill Deal
A congressional plan to drill for oil 10 miles off the coast of Florida would leave the state with some of the risk but none of the profits.
Other states along the Gulf of Mexico would receive millions if Congress allows oil companies to drill closer to shore. Florida could net billions by lifting a ban on drilling in state waters, but environmentalists say the profits wouldn't cover the cost of a spill.
Oil companies say drilling technology is cleaner and safer than ever before. They also say drilling today would require fewer oil rigs and platforms.
"We know its out in the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and we can get to that with a very small footprint," said Eric Hamilton with the Florida Petroleum Council.
Gov. Charlie Crist supports drilling that is far enough from the coast, but 10 miles may be too far because its not close enough to bring Florida any money.
To make money off the deal, Florida would have to allow drilling in state waters.
The deal could generate $1.5 billion a year for the state.
However, environmentalists say the profits would be lost if there was an oil spill.
"We've got this beautiful economy that every other state would envy," said Eric Draper with Audubon of Florida. "Why would we put that at risk for a little bit of oil that's not even going to bring that much money into the state of Florida?"
It's a question that Congress and voters may have to answer. A push to put the issue on the 2010 ballot is underway.
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