Political Leaders Look for Alternatives

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As the price of oil rises, the once unthinkable idea of drilling for oil in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is now on the table for some politicians. Until now, the stance was don't do it. Now, it’s just don't drill too close.

“It's appropriate to have a buffer around the state of a hundred miles minimum”

"Governor Jeb Bush has also asked the head of his environmental agency to look at the permitting process for a new nuclear plant and see if it could be sped up."

Progress Energy wants to open the first new nuclear plant in Florida since 1983 somewhere in rural Central Florida.

At this utility payment center, reaction was mixed.

“Nuclear is kind of scary. I’m not for that.”

“If it will lower my light bill, or gas prices, I’m all for it.”

US Senator Bill Nelson opposes oil drilling near Florida, but says nuclear, clean coal, and new techniques should all be put in play.

“Start producing more ethanol. And produce it from prairie grass and sugar cane and sugar beets, instead of the expensive process of from corn.”

And at the capitol, feel good measures such as dark hallways and officials meeting in just shirt sleeves are setting a good example but won’t make much of a dent in the overall picture.

The current moratorium on drilling in the gulf ends in January 2007. The governor says if Florida doesn't sit at the table and compromise, it could end up with oil rigs well inside the hundred-mile buffer he is suggesting.