Fla. Gov. Crist "open minded" on expanded drilling

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Charlie Crist says he is "open minded" about a bill that would let him and the Cabinet OK oil drilling within 10 miles of Florida's Gulf Coast.

The moderate Republican governor has built a reputation as an advocate of environmental causes. But Crist said Wednesday the state needs to study allowing more drilling.

Crist first softened his opposition to drilling last year, when gas prices rose above $4 a gallon. However, even then Crist said he wouldn't want rigs too close to Florida beaches.

A House bill (HB 1219) would repeal the ban on offshore drilling in waters controlled by the state. The governor and Cabinet could vote to lease submerged land for drilling.

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