Gov. Scott Backs Off Hint of Everglades Drilling

Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011 12:17 PM

By Andra Varin

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a speech Tuesday that he might support drilling for oil in the Florida Everglades, then quickly backed off and said he didn’t mean “an expansion of drilling.”
Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann kicked up a storm when campaigning in Florida late last month she said companies should drill for oil in the famed wetland.
Scott was asked about Bachmann’s comments when he appeared before the Economics Club in Tallahassee on Tuesday to promote his jobs program. At first he seemed open to the possibility.

“With regard to the Everglades, I think we have to be very cautious if there’s going to be any more drilling,” Scott said, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. “It’s my understanding, we haven’t had any problems to date, so my goal would be to be very cautious."
News reports of the governor’s comments were met with swift opposition.
“My suggestion to the governor is quite simple: Don’t go there,” said Kirk Fordham, CEO of the nonprofit Everglades Foundation.
 “Unless Governor Scott wants to unleash a firestorm of opposition from hunters, fishermen, conservationists, and millions of Floridians who depend on the Everglades for their water supply, he should abandon any notion of encouraging drilling in this sacred place,” Fordham said, according to The Miami Herald.
Scott hastened to explain that he really wasn’t saying “drill, baby, drill” for Florida’s River of Grass.

“Gov. Scott has not called for an expansion of drilling in the Everglades,” spokeswoman Amy Graham said in an email after the speech. “That discussion is not on the table.”

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