In the wake of oil spill, Charlie Crist says he's open to Democratic proposal for constitutional amendment vote to ban offshore drilling in state waters

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Representative Kriseman also wanted to be clear that their proposal should transcend party or politics, calling it an economic wake up call for Florida.  And he said that he and Fitzgerald weren't just being critics, but had fresh ideas about getting the state to start catching up when it comes time to emphasize renewable energy sources.


"We don’t want to just talk about what we shouldn’t be doing in the state of Florida, we want to talk about what we should be doing…and for that reason Rep. Fitzgerald and I are calling on the House and Senate leadership to work with us in a bi-partisan fashion to make Florida a leader in clean and renewable energy technologies.  Since Keith & and I arrived in Tallahassee, we have present numerous proposals and most have fallen victim to politics …and after this loss of human life in the Gulf, and the inevitable destruction of  marine life, now is not the time to play politics.  Dean Cannon and Mike Hairdopolos have a lot of enthusiasm and boundless energy, and we need them to join with us to focus on enhancing energy efficiencies, on research and development of new technologies and on the production of clean non petroleum based energies. "

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 what’s happened recently in the Gulf of Mexico, those kinds of ideas we’re 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 it’s 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.

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