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Oil drilling comes up empty this year

in Statewide by

From LobbyTools’ Florida Tribune: Legislation to allow drilling in state waters won’t be voted on by the House this year, Rep. Dean Cannon on Friday told the House Select Policy Council on Strategic & Economic Planning.

The council chaired by Cannon, R-Winter Park, held 10 hearings and workshops last winter and spring toward developing legislation to lift the state’s 20-year-old ban on drilling.

Supporters said drilling could bring jobs to Florida and revenue to the state while opponents said it poses a risk to the state’s coastline and tourism industry.

On Wednesday, Cannon told reporters that the council that he chairs could vote as early as Friday on a draft committee bill to lift the state’s 20-year-old ban on drilling.

But Friday, Cannon opened the council meeting by saying that the committee would not vote on the bill and instead only would consider forwarding to the House speaker a report that included the draft bill.

The Senate, Cannon said, showed no appetite for taking up drilling legislation this year.

“What we will do today is leave this issue in the best posture it can be — in a position that reflects our collective work and our collective concerns,” Cannon said. “So when the time is right — hopefully that is next year — we take that issue up and deliberate further.”

He is the designated House speaker for 2011.

This marks the second year in a row that House leaders have talked about oil drilling only to come up against opposition in the Florida Senate. Next year Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island and a backer of oil drilling, takes over as Senate president.

But it might be too late then since the leading contenders for governor – Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum – have said they are opposed to drilling while current Gov. Charlie Crist has said he might consider it. Continue reading this piece from LobbyTool’s Florida Tribune here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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