Just as “clean air” means “pollution like you’ve never imagined” and “healthy forests” means “clear-cutting and four-lane highways with convenience stores,” so “banning oil drilling near Florida” means “Go for it!”
Presidential Brother Jeb Bush has apparently had it all explained to him since yesterday, when PR reported even he didn’t know what his slimeball sibling was up to. Now he’s on board with selling out Florida shores to Big Oil.
The governor said he will seek a pact with the U.S. Department of the Interior to establish a 100-mile ban on oil drilling off Florida’s shores, diminishing the importance of the oil and gas inventory, which is part of the new energy bill speeding through Congress this week…
“Our goal would be to have a moratorium 100 miles from Jacksonville to Pensacola,” Bush said, adding that the section of water adjacent to the Florida line into Alabama should be included in the 100-mile buffer zone.”
Sounds good, right? Well, no.
Critics immediately seized on the governor’s comments as backpedaling, accusing him of playing into the White House’s goal of opening the eastern Gulf of Mexico just beyond the 100-mile buffer to new drilling.
“That’s a complete retrenchment,” said Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who has led the fight against the administration’s push for new energy development in the Gulf.
“A 100-mile buffer off the Gulf Coast of Florida would probably be the biggest sellout in modern state history,” he said. “It would give up the entire Eastern Planning Area.”
…[McLaughlin] said he believes the governor’s position is evidence that he will not oppose the administration’s effort to support a 100-mile buffer in the gulf and then open the rest of the region to drilling. The distance between Tampa Bay and the Alabama line is 285 miles, 185 miles of which would now be open to drilling, he said.
And throwing in that “Jacksonville to Pensacola” comment is like saying Sprite is fat-free. Duh. No one’s talking about drilling in the Atlantic.
McLaughlin also chided the governor’s attempts to portray Florida’s southeastern coast as being under threat to oil drilling…
Because the Florida Straits surrounding the Keys are in a marine sanctuary, drilling will not occur there, he said. If oil exists beyond the southeastern coast of the state, the drop-off in the continental shelf is too steep to drill. And for decades the areas along the central and northern Atlantic coast have not been under consideration because the federal government cannot allow oil rigs along the area used for NASA’s shuttle launch.
“It would be no great achievement to push for protections on the East Coast and the Keys,” McLaughlin said. “It’s the eastern Gulf area that’s up for grabs.”
I can almost see the rigs from here.