Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday that he "probably would weigh in" on legislation pending before Congress that would allow for oil drilling within 45 miles of Florida's coasts. Story here.
"There's an opportunity to find a middle ground if done appropriately that is safe, that is clean if done right,'' he said. "I'm open to reviewing what those opportunities might be.''
But Crist, the U.S. senate candidate, refrained from being specific about how he would define the allowable distance from shore. "I've always said it needs to be far enough, clean enough and safe enough to protect Florida's beautiful beaches,'' he said. "I also am cognizant of the fact that it sure would be nice to be energy independent. That's a growing concern of an awful lot of people including myself."
Crist suggested that while Florida should have a say in whether drilling will be allowed off the coast, the authority could come from the Congressional delegation. "Members of our delegation should not be dismissed,'' he said. "I think a combination would be the most prudent approach...Congress certainly has an interest as well, as it relates to national energy independence.
"Florida is kind of unique we have this tourist industry that's awfully important to Florida and I want to make sure whatever we might do as it relates to additional exploration for energy, that it is done in a responsible, safe and clean way.''