Constitutional ban on oil drilling off the coast of Florida?

Is this truly what is best for Florida or best for Governor Charlie Crist’s political endeavors?  According to Crist, during an interview with  Shepard Smith on Studio B, Florida’s tourist industry will be hurt if a constitutional ban is not presented to the people of Florida.

“Offshore drilling is now banned by a Florida statute but could be changed by legislative action.  A constitutional ban would require voter approval before it could be reversed” according to the Associated Press. Because Florida already has a drilling ban,  a constitutional ban in the long run may actually hurt the state should drilling become a necessity in future decades.  Crist states that the constitutional ban is needed because legislatures could one day come in and change the law allowing for drilling.  However, the same argument can be made, that to create an inflexible constitutional ban could ultimately hurt Florida, should there ever be a greater need for oil and energy in the future.

Oil is on the fore front of American minds because of the Gulf Spill, but to be a knee jerk reactionary, proposing laws that hurt the ability of future generations to make decisions that will affect their lives and their state, is irresponsible. Playing on the emotion of the voters to pass legislation is poor politics, as emotions change with the wind and current events.  Wise leadership can see beyond today and reconcile it with the needs of future generations.

2 comments
  1. You couldn’t be more wrong, Mary. Florida needs to protect is beaches and tourist industry above anything else. The Gulf oil spill only underscores the need for this amendment, because the panhandle has taken as serious hit to tourism that it might take decades to recover from. The Emerald Coast and its famed white sands were one of the regions primary sources of income apart. Take away the tourist dollars and that impacts hotels, restaurants, shops, and this has a ripple effect to every other aspect of the economy. I don’t even want to think how bad it could have been had the spill occurred near Miami or Tampa Bay or the Keys. And that’s to say nothing of the ecological disaster it represents. Not everything is dollars and cents. Once the manatees are gone they aren’t coming back.

    But of course, Crist made the best decision from a purely dollars and cents perspective, anyway, both in the long and short term. If and when the spill is cleaned up, Florida can point to this as a sign that our beaches are being protected. Even if there is never another oil spill- God willing!- this amendment is needed to rehabilitate the image of the state in the wake of this terrible disaster. The constitutional amendment is perfect to make this permanent, so that greedy and myopic oil drilling won’t ever clutter Florida’s coasts with drilling platforms and the looming disaster that could represent.

    You say “wise leadership can see beyond today and reconcile it with the needs of future generations.” But to drill for oil at the expense of Florida’s greatest natural resource, its beaches, it the only thing that is short-sighted. This amendment shows great foresight and wisdom and clearly has the welfare of the state of Florida as its ultimate goal.

    I have to wonder why Iowans feel the need to tell Floridians how to run Florida? Do we tell you guys what to do with your corn? Could this meddling just be a ploy in support of arch-conservative Tea-Party crony Rubio? Well, Crist has the best interest of Florida in his heart with this amendment, and it is wise and forethoughtful policy. Stay out of our business, please. God bless.

  2. Guy, the heart of the conversation is whether a constitutional ban would be too sweeping and have an adverse effect for later generations. If there is already legislation on the books that protect the people of Florida, is there a real need to create more law and potentially legal gridlock at tax payers expense?

    Floridians have every right to do what is best for their state, they know best and love best, there own home. I am all for states having the right to decide what is in the best interest of their state, for their people, but I do think that over reaction can result in unforeseen issues down the road. California is one of the most reactionary states in the union and we have a disaster of grand proportions because to much reactionary politicization has severely suffocated growth for the future of this state. I live in a place where too much legislation has created chaos, not helped the citizens of this state.

    What is the law now on the books not doing to protect the coastline? Is there really a need for this type of action? These are my thoughts and questions. Protecting the economy of Florida is highly important, and the tourist industry is it’s key commodity, but I stand by what I said, “wise leadership can see beyond today and reconcile it with the needs of future generations”. Ask yourself if prudent and careful guardianship is not a better form of governing, than reactionary responses. If it is working, has been working and will continue to do what it was meant to do, to protect the economy and the coastline of Florida, then why create more law?

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