Haridopolos: New Gulf Drilling Needed

By: David Royse, The News Service of Florida
By: David Royse, The News Service of Florida


Senate President Mike Haridopolos said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that new oil drilling is needed in the Gulf of Mexico, a reversal from last year, when, in the wake of the BP spill, he said Florida was going to “turn the page” away from drilling.

In an interview with Newsmax TV that was Webcast on Tuesday, Haridopolos, also a candidate for U.S. Senate, said that gas prices have changed the paradigm.

“We have to start drilling, we need to become more self-dependent,” Haridopolos said in the interview. “We need to open up those new opportunities in the Gulf and ANWR (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). Four dollars-plus in gasoline (is) crippling the middle class….America needs to lead by example.”

Haridopolos’ remarks contrast with what he said last July when he acknowledged after the BP oil spill that his previous push for new drilling in the Gulf didn’t account for the possibility of a spill.

“We tried to look at oil and natural gas production in the Gulf. We trusted that, at least in my lifetime … there had not been a major spill,” Haridopolos said then. “But guess what? We went to verify the scenario and it didn’t work for Floridians. So we need to try the unconventional way, the alternative way. We’re going to turn the page.”

Haridopolos, who had been pushing for new drilling in the nearshore Gulf up until the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history, called that spill “a game changer,” on the issue shortly thereafter.

But in December, he appeared to open the door up to changing his position, putting out a statement after President Obama extended a ban on drilling in the Gulf.

“While now is not the time to open up new drilling because of this summer’s Gulf oil spill, taking it off-the-table is irresponsible,” Haridopolos said in December. “We must ensure that innovative technology guarantees safe drilling and would not impact Florida’s environment or tourism industry. When safe drilling is available, we have an obligation to provide for the long-term economic well-being of our country and state.”

In the months after the spill, there was a federal ban on all new drilling in the Gulf, but that has since been lifted, and new deepwater drilling permits have been issued in the Gulf.

But a 2006 federal moratorium prevents drilling within 125 miles of Panhandle beaches and the state has its own two-decade-old ban on drilling in state waters, which extend about 10 miles from the Florida coast into the Gulf and 3 miles out into the Atlantic.

Lawmakers were close to ending that state water drilling ban when the spill happened. The House had voted to end the ban, but the measure was awaiting a Senate vote. At that time, the idea was scrapped.

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  • by The Purple Haze on Apr 28, 2011 at 02:02 AM
    A famed independent geologist, don't remember his name but he is not an appointed Al Gore puppet, recently claimed that North America holds a thousand year supply of crude oil. He also claims the state of Pennsylvania alone has a one hundred and fifty year supply of natural gas. The problem with all the proposed renewable energy sources is the fact that we're thirty plus years away from technologically refining and implementing these resources. What do we do in the meantime- nothing? I'm convinced that people posting on here that are against further oil exploration and development either do not work or do not drive.
  • by Airborne on Apr 27, 2011 at 04:49 PM
    Ole Haridopolos is kind of cute!!
  • by uneployed oil man Location: la on Apr 27, 2011 at 02:26 PM
    our choise is drill or come up with better formsof energy. i dont think the gov. is doing enough to produce green energy. why would anyone vote for obama in the upcomeing election. idont see anything or inprovements in america sinse he has took office.
  • by Life Location: Craw on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    Drill baby Drill
  • by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2011 at 11:24 AM
    Drill now!
  • by Future minded on Apr 27, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    flip-flop goes for the republicans as well, huh. Drilling in the gulf is a SHORT TERM solution. It will run out one day. Then what? We need leaders with a vision for the future, not just pandering for support in the present.
  • by John 3:16 on Apr 27, 2011 at 09:33 AM
    And the Lord said "thou shall not soil your own bed."
  • by Ronnie on Apr 27, 2011 at 09:27 AM
    Of course we need to drill and drill closer to shore,if that well had been in 300 ft of water it would have been contained in a couple of days at the most and more than likly a matter of hours. Clean energy is natural gas and we have plenty of it,use it.Talk about simulating our economy and pouring tax dollars into state and local budgets. @talguy 82 percent of the seafood you eat (along with most of the other food)is imported,most farm raised,it is full of chemicals and worse,the watse treatment plant on Springhill is clean compaired to some of the waters and ponds they harvest YOUR seafood out of overseas.
    • reply
      by grady on Apr 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM in reply to Ronnie
      they have depleted the oil in close. they will only go deeper, making another disaster very likely unfortunately. especially true since they have no desire to have any safeguards whatsoever. do we ever learn anything?
  • by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2011 at 08:59 AM
    who let him his hair and book out from under the rock?
  • by talguy Location: tallahassee on Apr 27, 2011 at 08:30 AM
    I was wondering why our goverment thinks oil and dispersants in our sea food is healthy. there are people in the gulf that helped cleanup and now they are sick and going blind, to me theas chemicals schould not be in our sea food at all, I know I'm not going to eat food laced with chemicals
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