Florida Rep Rick Kriseman still wants special Legislative session on drilling and energy

06/07/10 Seán Kinane
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Beginning last month there was a push by state Representative Rick Kriseman and others to hold a special legislative session on drilling and energy fueled by the ongoing BP oil leak disaster.

On Saturday Kriseman, a Democrat from St. Petersburg, reiterated his calls for a special session that could lead to a constitutional amendment banning drilling in state waters.

Well, what we're calling for is a constitutional amendment to give the voters the decision as to whether they want to see drilling within the state waters, which is on the West Coast of Florida, out to roughly ten miles, and on the East Coast, roughly three miles. And it's to prevent that from drilling and from exploration, that's what the amendment would do. The response to it has been, from the community, from everyone that we've spoken to, out in the public, has been overwhelmingly in support. The governor has expressed an interest in it, in calling a special session; we know he's been really busy, but we've been trying to get with him to get a coordination on when this is gonna happen.

Leadership, on the other hand, has not expressed an interest. We can't understand why. All we hear from them is, “We're not gonna drill this year or next year.” Well, that doesn't give me any level of comfort. Because two years from now, three years from now, when the oil lobby starts spending their money again, what's to say they're not gonna come back and put another bill moving forward with drilling? I don't want to see that. This should be a lesson to all of us. Actually, last year, what happened in the Timor Sea should have been a lesson to all of us. Obviously, that didn't have an impact. Hopefully, this will.

Q. Do you think there will be a special session this summer?

I do feel confident that we're gonna have one. We do have some time constraints on us that we want to get it on the ballot in 2010, so that's my main concern. I want to give the people an opportunity to vote on it right away. I don't want to wait until 2012. So it's a matter of whether we can get the governor to call it. Obviously, based on the comments of [House] Speaker [Larry] Cretul, it isn’t going to happen through the Legislature.

More WMNF coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill:

Sink: Feds not BP should take over cleanup

NRDC spokesman talks about his Gulf trip

Deepwater Horizon: An international perspective

Greg Palast on BP (part one)

NDRC spokesman talks about his Gulf trip

Chemical oil dispersants may harm environment

Behind "Drill, Baby, Drill"

Sen. Bill Nelson visits oil spill incident command post in St Pete

Two state legislators urge special session on drilling ban

Hillsborough BOCC opposes expanded oil drilling

Castor says BP thinks oil leak could be up to 60 thousand barrels per day

Congressional committee grills rig execs

Crist meets with BP in St Pete on oil disaster

Gulf Restoration Network responds to BP oil disaster

Sink still wants answers from BP on oil disaster

The suffering begins on the Gulf Coast

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