Florida's future legislative leaders spent Thursday on an aerial tour of the Gulf of Mexico and the massive oil spill making its way toward Florida shores and, in the strongest words yet, said they won't be pursuing oil drilling anytime soon.
"At the very minimum, we are going to permanently table this issue,'' said Sen. Mike Haridopolos, incoming Senate leader. "This is a game changer. Something like this has never been happened in my lifetime. We're not focused on politics, like some people are.''
Rep. Dean Cannon, who spent the last year focusing on developing and drafting legislation that would open Florida waters to oil and gas exploration, said it's time to put that idea on hold but disagreed with Democrats that a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling is need for Florida's ballot, nor is a special session needed on the issue.
"There is no need for a special session because there is an exacting ban in place and it's not going to change,'' Cannon said, referring to the federal moratorium on oil drilling from Florida waters to 225 miles out. "Our resources are better spent addressing the problem.''