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Florida voters may vote on a proposed oil drilling ban this fall

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May 7, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: The legislative session might have ended but Gov. Charlie Crist announced yesterday that he is considering a special legislative session. On May 6 Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Democratic officials - Sen. Dan Gelber, Rep. Keith Fitzgerald and Rep. Rick Kriseman - asked the governor to call for a special session to introduce a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that calls for permanently ending efforts to open Florida's near-shore waters to oil and gas exploration.[1][2]

The proposal comes weeks following an April 20, 2010 explosion on a British Petroleum (BP) drilling rig that lead to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill began to reach land in early May, according to news reports. In May, Gov. Crist wrote President Barack Obama saying the state is expected to face "unprecedented environmental harm." Crist requested an estimated $500 million National Emergency Grant.[3]

In reaction to the oil spill, Gov. Crist said, "As it relates to what we’ve just seen in the Gulf of Mexico the past couple weeks, clearly it wasn’t far enough. It obviously wasn’t safe enough. And sure as heck isn’t clean enough. And so it’s just not good enough, period." Crist argues that offshore drilling "has to be far enough, clean enough and safe enough" and in light of the 2010 incident should apply to existing and future oil rigs.[4]

Crist said on May 6 that he is considering a special session to introduce an amendment for the ballot.[5]

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