environmentalists decry Oil drilling bill passed in the House by Mitch E. Perry12/08/06
In the last day of the 109th Congress, The House of Representative has voted to open some 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling , while barring rigs at least 125 miles off Florida's Panhandle.. 235 miles off the coast of Tampa and nearly 325 miles from Naples.
The debate on the issue has splintered thea once-united Florida congressional delegation as rising gas costs and industry pressure convinced many lawmakers to embrace limited drilling in exchange for some protection.
But others argued that the state should fend off all efforts, because even distant drilling could threaten the stateâ€™s tourist-dependent beaches.
The Bill then moves to the Senate, which is meeting tonight before Congress breaks until next yearâ€¦Mark Ferullo is director of the group, Environment Floridaâ€¦He says the only hope that the bill will not go thru, is a filibuster by the Senate tonight on unrelated matters that are contained in the same legislation (roll tape#1 o.q.â€?collapses under its own weightâ€?)
Thatâ€™s Mark Ferullo, from Environment Floridaâ€¦Under the agreement, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas would gain millions of dollars in royalties from drilling companies..