Rep. Dean Cannon, the Orlando Republican who is slated to become House leader in 2010, will unveil legislation Tuesday that could open the door to the first oil and gas drilling off Florida's coast in decades.
He will ask the House Policy Council on Tuesday to pass a bill that lifts Florida's ban on oil drilling off state waters. The measure would replace the ban with a plan to allow the governor and Florida Cabinet to charge $1 million per application to explore state-controlled waters that stretch between 3 and 10 miles offshore.
But after years of resisting oil and gas drilling off Florida shores, the state's fiscal straits have made it politically practical for Cannon to pursue the change. But environmentalists are already blasting the idea.
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