Governor Charlie Crist said today that he is open to a proposal by Florida Democrats Dan Gelber in the Senate and Rick Kriseman(pictured to the right) and Keith Fitzgerald in the House for the Legislature to meet soon and propose a Constitutional Amendment on the 2010 November ballot that would prohibit drilling for oil or natural gas within state waters. According to the Palm Beach Post:
Obviously, in light of whats happened recently in the Gulf of Mexico, those kinds of ideas were going to have to field, Crist said before visiting Palm Beach Public Elementary School for an assembly to mark Teacher Appreciation Week.
This much is clear. Let me be very clear about this, as far as oil drilling is concerned: Not now, no way, Crist said. Whether its in the form of a constitutional amendment or a special session remains to be seen.
Representative Fitzgerald said this was the absolute right time to call for a constitutional ban on any drilling plans in state waters, saying,
"As a member of the select council that looked at oil drilling for the entire year, I heard hours and hours of testimony and considered thousands of pages of documentation, all of which downplayed the possibility that something like what has happened would. Now we know what the risks are."
" This particular oil spill may or may not end up at this beach, but it certainly brings home to us the real dangers drilling This is the appropriate time for the people to decide in a referendum if its ever appropriate to do."
Both legislators were critical of the incoming leaders of the legislature next year, Senator Mike Haridopolos and Representative Dean Cannon. Both men have pushed hard over the past year the idea of allowing drilling between 3-10 miles off the Florida coast, though opposition from Senate President Jeff Atwater prevented the idea from having a chance to reach fruition in the current session.