Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio said in an interview with the Herald that he supports oil drilling off Florida's coast "if it can be done in a manner that's safe for our environment.'' But he challenged Gov. Charlie Crist and John McCain's implication that drilling could lower gas prices anytime soon.
"For anyone to represent that someone drilling off the coast in Florida is going to lower gas prices here or anywhere in this country is disingenuous and a flawed argument,'' he said. "Oil drilling could take 10 years before any oil is pulled out of the ground, and there are a large number of leases held by oil companies that are not being exploited now. We can't say we need more until we've exploited those.''
Rubio said he dislikes how the issue over oil drilling is portrayed as "black and white" because he believes there is a middle ground that can help the nation achieve more energy independence while not harming the environment.
"If our beaches are going to be polluted and oil is going to end up on our shores, I'm against it,'' he said. "But I do believe that we have an obligation to safely exploit our natural resources in this country and I believe we have the technology to accomplish that.''