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Crist responds to Hands Across the Sand with special session on oil drilling

Continuing his commitment to recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, Governor Charlie Crist today called a Special Session of the

Photo from National Wildlife Federation

Florida Legislature from July 20, 2010 through July 23, 2010, to address a constitutional amendment banning offshore drilling in Florida waters.

This is a logical next step to the repeated calls by local and county governments to permanently address the issue of offshore oil drilling along the Florida coastline. The timing could not be more appropriate as a full page ad ran today in the Miami Herald signed by the People of America’s oil and natural gas industry claiming a” commitment to safety and America’s energy future”.

Recently, on June 26, people hundreds of people from all over gathered at locations, preferably beaches if they lived close to bring international attention to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling. Events were scheduled in 820 locations – 730 in the U.S. in 509 U.S. cities with all 50 states represented in addition to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Internationally, Hands Across the Sand took place in 33 countries. In South Florida, people gathered at beaches all up and down the coast demanding a ban on further oil drilling. Crist even joined at Pensacola Beach.

However, the Minerals Management Service continues to give new leases and a federal judge has denied the ban on new drilling.

Locally, South Florida has taken a collective stance against more drilling. Fort Lauderdale, as well as Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, as well as the Broward League of Cities have passed resolutions against offshore drilling.

During the Hands event, people gathered at noon and stretched across the sand with hand to hand recognition, a connection that goes beyond political, religious or cultural beliefs. Our crisis today in the Gulf could be Germany’s or Australia’s crisis tomorrow. They know it and have called for more inspections of their oil rigs and review of existing permits.

Matthew Schwartz, Executive Director of the South Florida Wildlands Association and coordinator for the Fort Lauderdale first Hands Across the Sand on February 13, 2010 and today’s event, repeated what we already know but not enough are listening to yet, No! to offshore oil and gas drilling.

As the crowds listened to him nodding in agreement, the most obvious source of renewable energy was making them hot and thirsty. The sun blared, the wind whipped and the ever constant pound of the surf in the background was a reminder that our solutions for renewable energy could not have been any more obvious, literally hitting the participants in the face.

For a country like Germany that receives almost 50% less sunshine days than our state and have in place plans to shut down all of their nuclear power plants by the year 2020 because they don’t need them, is telling of our missed opportunities as a country and particularly as a state.

That a report recently released by the Broward County Green Workforce Innovation Project documents that people are being trained ahead of the need for a sustainable society should send up red flags everywhere that the issue hindering efforts is not a lack of technical know-how but rather a lack of commitment; politically, socially and economically.

One of the speakers called for a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in both Florida’s state and federally regulated waters. However, it is not enough to demand a constitutional amendment for the State of Florida only; it needs to reach to a national level, to an international level. As the Gulf spill continues to gush Cuba and South America worry that they too might be impacted by oil slicks or tar balls. Our tragedy could become their tragedy.

“We have to convince legislators to act–(Washington D.C.) spends 12 to 20 billion subsidizing oil–we need to transition to renewable energy,” said Keith Winn, owner of “They don’t need subsidies today–and with wind, sunlight, wave action we have enough power for the whole country.”

With judges ruling in favor of the oil industry and elected officials apologizing to them, this action can come none to soon. It is hoped that the current political rivalries will be moved aside to address this critical issue for the benefit of all Floridians.

About Valerie J. Amor:
As an architectural consultant, LEED AP, LEED certification reviewer, real estate broker and AIA associate, Valerie J. Amor is dynamically engaged in sustainability and issues regarding the built environment. Actively participating in several local, county and national organizations and committees focused on sustainability issues, she is also owner/principal of Drawing Conclusions and founder/president of Green Collar Connection, companies engaged in sustainable design, real estate development, green job training and research. Knowledgeable and well connected she brings you timely and thoughtful articles. Reach her at .

Related posts:

  1. Broward County League of Cities reaches hands across the sand – join them
  2. Locals unite at Fort Lauderdale beach against oil drilling offshore
  3. MMS continues to approve new drilling permits with limited or no environmental review
  4. Florida legislation asks Congress to remove offshore drilling moratorium
  5. Take a sustainable approach-urge elected officials to take stance against offshore drilling

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Posted by Valerie J. Amor on Jul 8 2010. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Environmental, Federal Government, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Oil, Tallahassee. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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