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Putting the Brakes on Rush to Drill Offshore

October 8th, 2009

Orlando Sentinel Senior Editorial Writer Paul Owens weighs in on FFRP’s recent position paper on offshore oil drilling…

Republican state Rep. Dean Cannon, the incoming speaker of the Florida House, told the Sentinel recently that he’d like to see his plan to open up state waters to oil and gas rigs handled in a special session so the state could begin pocketing the proceeds ASAP. But this week, a representative for the lead group pushing the plan said the money isn’t likely to show up in state coffers for another three years. That certainly argues against rushing the plan.

So does a recent statement from Floridians for Responsible Policy, a public policy group founded by two Orlando businessmen, Roger Chapin and Joe Kefauver. FFRP says it considers offshore drilling “a legitimate component of a comprehensive national energy policy” but it opposes efforts to “hastily force such an important issue through the legislative process without a thorough and detailed public vetting. If offshore drilling is really merited, then it should be able to stand the test of reasoned debate in the full light of day.” To which I’d add, “Amen.”

Lest FFRP be pigeonholed as left-leaning for opposing the fast-tracking of Cannon’s plan, it also has issued statements opposing the No. 1 priority of organized labor, the bill in Congress that would let unions organize without secret-ballot elections. Questioning Cannon’s plan isn’t a liberal position — just a sensible one.