After concluding the House's final workshop on the exploration of oil and gas drilling off Florida coasts, Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, outlined three areas he expects the House bill to include when it is released in two weeks.
1. Preventing "any visual impact to our beaches'' that could "cause visual blight."
2. Don't disrupt military activity. He said he wants to give the military “essentially veto power over any drilling activity.”
3. Recognizing improvements in technology, such as the opportunity to use directional drilling. “Advancements in technology have resolved many of the concerns that were appropriately fears 20 years ago.”
Cannon also said he believes the bill should authorize the Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Board of Trustees for the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, to develop the oil and gas permitting process.
Cannon said he plans to have a House bill emerge on week six of the eight-week session but is not concerned if it doesn't pass this year because he is prepared to come back next year “with even a better bill.” Senate President Jeff Atwater and Gov. Charlie Crist have both said they oppose opening Florida's coast to oil drilling in Florida waters.
“Whether or not it passes at the end of the day I’m less worried about because if we get the policy right, it won’t matter this year or next year,” Cannon said.