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Cannon likes Obama oil drilling plan but says state needs it on its own terms

Incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon told the Herald/Times today that he was encouraged by the President Obama's announcement that he supporst opening Florida's eastern gulf coast to offshore oil drilling but emphasized that it's up to the state to put pressure on the feds "to do right."

Cannon, who has shepherded a legislative effort to to open Florida's near shore to oil and gas exploration and drilling, wants to pass another resolution to Congress urging them to lift the ban and emphasize that Florida "wants to be at the table so we make sure Florida's interests are protected.''

He said the House bill, which has yet to emerge, will require that drilling rigs can't be seen from the beach, that the military have the ability to override any drilling request and that the highest environmental standards be required.

"To me it’s very important that we do communicate that we do want our fiar share of revenues that may be derived from drilling in federal waters off our coast,'' he said. "One way to do that is set high standards and technological standards in near shoer waters that oculd put pressure on the feds to make sure they do it right."

Cannon said the House will pass a bill this year but admits that it's an uphill fight to get it through the Senate, where Senate President Jeff Atwater has indicated he opposes it. Passage of legislation this year is "helpful but not essential."