Columns

Special Session or Showboating?

By: Guest Columnist | Posted: May 13, 2010 12:18 AM
Florida Oil Mug Shot

We started FloridaOil.org to propose our own constitutional amendment, but something we heard from thousands of people who signed our petitions is that they would prefer to accomplish the goals without changing the Constitution. The Constitution should be reserved to preserve rights, not take them away or “grant” them.

We have a governor whose days in office -- possibly any office -- are numbered, and is looking for any reason to regain credibility. The reality is that putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot will do nothing to change the status quo but possibly tie the hands of future Legislatures by taking advantage of people who may not have enough information to make an informed decision.

The fact is, Gov. Charlie Crist first asked us to meet with him last October, and then for “political” reasons could not find the time for the meeting he requested. Part of the education we would have provided to the governor would have been on the irresponsibility of the federal government to manage submerged lands, and the difference between shallow-water and deep-water drilling and our concerns about deep-water drilling. It’s an unforgivable tragedy that our concerns were verified and an insult that one of the very people who could have prevented this, if not for political posturing, is now to “solve” the problem in such an arrogant manner.

A special session is not necessary. It will not change anything. But if one is called, it should be to rescind the authority we have granted to the federal government to manage the submerged lands and put all of the submerged lands surrounding our state under the control of the state of Florida. We have the right to do this. We have gone through all of the arguments and the bottom line is this simple argument: If the state of Florida were to secede from the Union, all of the submerged lands surrounding the state, out to the limits of international law, would become sovereign territory of the state of Florida, not the United States of America. That should sum up our rights to these lands.

As we can see with the hearings taking place on Capitol Hill today, the blame game in D.C. is now and has been going on for quite some time. It is only getting worse. Halliburton blames BP, which blames Transocean, and the endless cycle continues while elected officials sit there without accepting any blame or bringing any experience whatsoever to the table. Minerals Management Service is supposed to regulate these companies and offshore drilling.

It is time for the state of Florida to claim its submerged lands and take the control back from the federal government. If we know what’s actually taking place offshore and without accidents, and are rewarded with revenue, we feel the state would take the responsibility in the good and bad times.  As we can see with any federal government program, the more power they try to take from a state and its people, the worse the program becomes.

True leaders act, not react. Let’s see some true leadership and take back the submerged lands and approach the future well-informed.

Brian Sexton is chairman of www.floridaoil.org. Florida Oil, a registered 527 CPAC, is a non-profit grassroots group for Florida.


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