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Bill Nelson: Thumbs down on climate change bill

Bill Nelson said today he's not going to back the new climate change bill if it includes provisions that would allow drilling off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

In letters to President Obama and the bill’s sponsors, Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, Nelson notes that under the proposal it would be up to states, like Florida, "whether to establish a 75-mile no-drill zone.
 As a result, the bill could cede to the Florida Legislature decisions about commercial and other activities where we have a unique U.S. military installation and national missile testing range.

"We must not give the Florida Legislature a veto over military and intelligence activities in the
testing range and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," he wrote. "Such is unthinkable."

The two senators took into account a 2006 law that keeps oil and gas drilling at least 125 miles off Florida's west coast but would allow new drilling in federal waters off coastal states unless a state enacted a 75 mile no-drill zone. Federal waters generally start at three miles off the coast.

Following is the text of Nelson’s letter to Obama:

May 13, 2010

The Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I have reviewed the American Power Act climate bill which reflects your administration’s position on oil exploration. I regretfully must oppose this bill - if it includes the following:

The bill could allow drilling in federal waters close to states’ coastlines, including along the Atlantic seaboard.  It would be up to states, like Florida, whether to establish a 75-mile no-drill zone. As a result, the bill could cede to the Florida Legislature decisions about commercial and other activities where we have a unique U.S. military installation and national missile testing range.

Such is unthinkable. For one thing, we must not consider drilling in a missile testing range. For another, we must not give the Florida Legislature a veto over military and intelligence activities in the testing range and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

This site was selected as a U.S. missile testing range after World War II. Over the past six decades, it’s been used by the Department of Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Other military facilities at nearby Port Canaveral support U.S.Navy ballistic missile ship and submarine operations. 

I would be happy to discuss this issue with you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Bill Nelson

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