Tuesday, September 06, 2005

LTE by LCV Campaign Manager in Sarasota Herald Tribune


Article published September 6, 2005

Harris reverses on drilling issue

Re: "Nelson, Harris all over issue of drilling," Aug. 29:

Although Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Longboat Key) says she has "consistently opposed drilling off our shores," a close examination of her voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives shows some clear inconsistencies with respect to this critical issue for Florida.

Both in June 2003 and April 2004, Rep. Harris voted for an energy bill that could have paved the way for drilling off Florida's coast by weakening an important safeguard against new drilling projects, the Coastal Zone Management Act. In the early 1990s, then-Gov. Lawton Chiles invoked the management act twice to stop drilling projects, including one less than 15 miles off the coast of Pensacola, arguing that "the potential environmental and economic hazards of a spill outweighed the benefits."

Only after going through her recent Senate campaign makeover has Rep. Harris changed her tune, first introducing a largely symbolic bill to ban drilling off Florida's coasts and then voting against the final energy bill. Rep. Harris' blatant flip-flop on this issue raises serious questions about her commitment to protecting Florida's beaches and coastal communities from the potentially devastating impact of an oil spill. Does Rep. Harris side with Florida families or with the oil and gas industry?

Shirin Bidel-Niyat
Florida campaign manager
League of Conservation Voters

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